Bhutan PM arrives on maiden visit to India

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New Delhi, Jul 14 (UNI) Bhutan's Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley arrived here today on a four-day State visit, his first outside Bhutan after the country's transition to democracy from 100 years of monarchical rule.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation including Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, Foreign Minister Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering, Finance Minister Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu and senior officials.

During the visit, the Bhutanese Prime Minister will call on President Pratibha Patil and Vice President Hamid Ansari.

He will also hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of Opposition L K Advani and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will call on him.

Tomorrow morning, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni will call on the Bhutanese Prime Minister followed by his meetings with Power Minister and the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman.

In the afternoon, Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss will call on the visiting dignitary.

National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan an Home Minister Shivraj Patil will also call on him separately to discuss security-related issues.

The two Prime Ministers will hold talks on a wide variety of issues including bilateral, regional and global. They will discuss further expansion economic ties and cooperation in hydropower sector.

The Prime Minister will host a State Banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary.

''India and Bhutan share a very special relationship which has roots in our history and culture and has found new dynamism in mutually beneficial cooperation. This relationship is characterised by close consultations, mutual trust and understanding. It is further sustained by the tradition of regular visits and exchange of views at the highest levels between the two countries,'' an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said today.

India and Bhutan have an effective flood information sharing system whereby Bhutan notifies Barpeta and Nalbari in Assam and Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal at regular intervals on the water level in Bhutan.

Both countries have a problem-free relationship. Bhutan, a few years back, launched a military operation against ULFA militants who had set up camps in Bhutanese territory adjoining India.

India is involved in several developmental works in Bhutan.

India and Bhutan signed a revised their Friendship Treaty in 2007.

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