India, Bhutan ink MoU for hydro power project
Thimpu (Bhutan), July 28: India and Bhutan today signed an agreement for 1,095 MW hydro power project that will provide surplus power to India and boost economic ties between the two countries.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee signed the historic Punatsangchu-1 hydro power project agreement with his Bhutanese counterpart Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk and said the agreement will help in the development of both the countries.
He added that the two countries are also expected to sign two more hydro power agreements soon.
The Rs 3,514.82 crore project is part of an agreement to import a minimum of 5,000 MW of electricity from Bhutan by 2020. Earlier in March, the Indian government had committed Rs 2,610 crore for Bhutan's 9th five-year-plan.
So far, India has invested about Rs 5,000 crore in the construction of three hydro projects-- Chukkha, Kurichu and Tala-- which have an installed capacity of 1,400 MW.
Cooperation in hydel power sector is one of the main elements in Indo-Bhutanese ties.
Mr Mukherjee arrived in Bhutan yesterday for a three-day visit, to boost economic and political ties between the two countries for mutual benefit.
There have been several high-level bilateral visits in the recent months with the King Jigme Kesar Namgyal Wangchuk having visited India in February this year, when the two countries signed a historic friendship treaty.
The two countries also enjoy robust trade ties on the strength of a free trade regime. India accounts for a bulk of Bhutanese imports and exports with the quantum being over 90 per cent.