President Pranab Mukherjee to pay a two-day visit to Bhutan from Friday
New Delhi: In the first bilateral visit by an Indian President in 26 years, Pranab Mukherjee will travel to Bhutan on Friday with an aim to giving a further boost to the "unique" and "special" ties between the two countries.
During the two-day visit, Mukherjee will have meetings with King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, among other top leaders, to expand bilateral partnership in range of areas.
Mukherjee's visit to Bhutan comes nearly five months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to the land-locked neighbouring country. It was Modi's first foreign visit as Prime Minister.
The President will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, four Members of Parliament, senior officials and representatives of a number of educational and academic institutions.
Mukherjee is visiting Bhutan at the invitation of the King.
"It is expected to further expand our bilateral partnership and strengthen the close bonds that tie our two peoples together," the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Modi had visited Bhutan on June 15-16 with a focus on making development cooperation with the country more effective. The upshot of the two-day visit by Modi to the tiny kingdom was a decision by the two countries to scale up their ties that cover security interests and cooperation in a wide variety of fields.
Bhutan had promised not to allow its territory to be used against India, an assurance that comes against the backdrop of militants from northeast taking shelter there.
India's assistance package to Bhutan includes Rs 4,500 crore for the country's 11th Five-Year Plan from 2013-18 and covers areas from infrastructure and information and communication technology to health, agriculture, human resource development and tourism.
Bilateral trade amounted to Rs 6,830 crore in 2012 and education, media and tourism sectors hold good potential for enhanced cooperation in future.