Prime Minister Narendra Modi Bhutaan visit had been a packed, productive and futuristic one. Prime Minister Modi had about 13 programmes in his 27 hours that he was in Bhutan.
In a special gesture, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering himself received as well as seen off Prime Minister Modi at the airport.
Prime Minister visit began with a grand welcome on the streets from Paro to Thimpu, where people from all walks of Bhutanese society, especially children, were out on the roads to catch a glimpse of Prime Minister Modi. The 45km long journey was virtually filled with people.
CHANGING CONTOURS OF INDIA-BHUTAN RELATIONSHIP
Earlier, discourse around India-Bhutan friendship revolved mostly around hydro-power. Prime Minister Modi has added the dimension of people power by ensuring big outcomes in education, innovation and space. The MoUs, inauguration of the Ground Space Station reflect Prime Minister Modi’s emphasis on making this partnership about sectors that impact the common citizen more directly.
ENGAGEMENT WITH ALL LEVELS OF BHUTANESE LEADERSHIP
Prime Minister had an audience with His Majesty the King of Bhutan, where the Queen also joined the meeting. He met the fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who came specially from overseas so that he could meet the Prime Minister.
There were detailed talks with Prime Minister Tshering and a call on by the Leader of Opposition as well. Two elaborate banquets were also held in the honour of PM Modi.
On the 17th, the cultural programme highlighted the histories of India, Bhutan and even a performance on the life of Prime Minister Modi, from childhood to the transformative work done in the last five years.
ICONIC VISIT AND PRESS STATEMENTS AT SEMTOKHA DZONG
Later, PM Modi’s visit to Semtokha Dzong, an important spiritual and cultural landmark in Bhutan was not an ordinary visit. Usually the joint press meet that leaders have is held in the same venue as the place where delegation talks are held but the joint press meet between PMs Modi and Tshering was held at Semtokha Dzong.
This is the first time ever in the hundreds of years of history of the Semtokha Dzong that such a programme has taken place. It is also believed in Bhutan that such an honour will not be accorded to any other leader at all.
IMPROMPTU WALK WITH MONKS
After the programmes at the Semtokha Dzong ended, a group of monks were waiting to greet PM Modi but instead of the formal greeting, PM Modi decided to walk with them and talk to them. He also told PM Tshering that he likes being in places associated with spirituality, while the two leaders were walking.
PM’S INSPIRING UNIVERSITY ADDRESS
PM’s speech at the Royal University of Bhutan was admired widely by the students. The children referred to PM’s book Exam Warriors and how they were inspired by it.
MAN VS WILD A HIT IN BHUTAN
Apart from formal engagements, it is to be noted that the episode of Man vs Wild featuring PM Modi and Bear Grylls is a hit in Bhutan.
People including top echelons on Bhutanese politics, business and judiciary were heard complimenting PM Modi on the show. They liked the fact that the show was refreshing and gave out a positive message on climate change.