Nine MoUs and one power purchase agreement were exchanged between India and Bhutan in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering at the Semtokha Dzong at Semthoka [Bhutan], on Saturday.
“Bhutan is the second country this will be launched in after Singapore. This will be done in two phases — the first phase will be Indian banks will issue RuPay cards which can be used by Indian travellers in Bhutan, in a bid to ease tourism in the country,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had stated at a presser preceding the PM’s visit. “The next phase will be where the banks of Bhutan will be empowered to issue RuPay cards to Bhutanese citizens to use in India,” he had added.
Apart from the MoUs, the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant was inaugurated, along with the remote launching of the ISRO-built Ground Station for South Asian Satellite.
The two Prime Ministers also launched stamps to commemorate five decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation.
The e-plaque of the interconnection between India’s National Knowledge Network and Bhutan’s Druk Research and Education Network was also unveiled during the event on Saturday.
Amongst the MoUs, at least four are STEM-focused. “The Royal University of Bhutan shall be signing four MoUs, one each with IIT Delhi, Bombay and Kanpur and with NIIT Silchar…This is a very positive development in the stem subjects,” the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj told ANI in Thimphu on Friday.
Another MoU has been signed between the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Thimphu, and National Law School of India University, Bangalore and another between the Bhutan National Legal Institute and National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, on cooperation in Judicial Education and Mutual Exchanges.
An MoU has also been signed in the space sector, between ISRO and Bhutan’s Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT).
The Power Purchase Agreement between PTC India Limited and Druk Green Power Corporation Limited for sale and purchase of Mangdechhu power was also exchanged in the presence of the leaders.
After the event, the Prime Minister planted a tree sapling at the Dzong. He is now scheduled to address students at the Royal University Bhutan on August 18. (ANI)