Nima Wangdi 

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji and India’s external affairs minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar inaugurated three projects that were completed through Indian assistance yesterday.

Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is travelling to the neighbouring countries as part of an in-person engagement with the neighbours. He was in Bangladesh on April 28. He has also visited Maldives and Sri Lanka earlier.

This is Dr Jaishankar’s second visit since he became India’s external affairs minister.

The visiting minister formally inaugurated Chubachu-Jungzhina four-lane road, Bajo-Khuruthang secondary high way, and the bus terminal in Bumthang.

Lyonpo Tandi Dorji said that the Chubachu-Jungzhina four-lane road is one of the main trunk roads in Thimphu city, which facilitates smooth flow of traffic and helps ease the traffic congestion from the Northern part of Thimphu to the city core.

“Located in the central Bhutan, Bumthang Dzongkhag did not have a designated bus terminal … This will be an important transit point for several destinations everyday and also facilitate effective public transport services,” Dr Tandi Dorji said.

Lyonpo said the Bajo-Khuru secondary highway will shorten the distance between Wangdue and Punakha. It will also enhance the socioeconomic well-being of the people of Wangdue and Punakha .

He thanked India for the 2,000 boxes of medical supplies that were handed over to Bhutan yesterday.

“We are grateful for all the assistance that we have received so far and we are also confident that the government of India will continue to provide the same level of support and cooperation in the coming years,” Lyonpo said.

Dr Jaishankar is the first foreign dignitary to visit Bhutan after Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr S Jaishankar said that the gathering was also a celebration of “our success in fighting against Covid-19 in the past two years”.

He congratulated His Majesty the King, who had led from the front during the pandemic and the government and people of Bhutan for the extraordinary show of resilience.

“It is also a great matter of satisfaction as our bilateral cooperation continued to flourish even during this difficult period,” he said.

He said: “I am happy that our traditional relationships have grown in new sectors since the Indian Prime Minister’s visit in 2019 in keeping with the wishes and aspirations of the Bhutanese people.”

He said that Bhutan and India  are collaborating on STEM through regular placement of Bhutanese youth to the IITs in India. “I am also pleased to share that the India-Bhutan satellite programme is due to be launched into space shortly.”

He further added:“I dedicate these three projects to the people of Bhutan. It is heartening to know they [the projects] are completed despite the logistical challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic … We will continue to stand resolutely by your side.”

Dr Jaishankar also called on Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering and had an audience with His Majesty The King and the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

The visit is in keeping with the long-established tradition of regular exchange of high-level visits between Bhutan and India.

Dr S Jaishankar will leave the country today.