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India, Bhutan review bilateral energy cooperation; appreciate “unprecedented opportunities”

During his state visit to Bhutan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay conducted a thorough review of all aspects of bilateral energy cooperation. They expressed anticipation for the commissioning of the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydro-electric Project later this year and welcomed the ongoing expert-level discussions on the 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I Hydro-electric Project.

The Joint Vision Statement on India – Bhutan Energy Partnership highlighted the significant role of the clean energy partnership in Bhutan’s hydropower sector development and regional energy security. Prime Minister Modi commended the increasing domestic capacity of Bhutanese firms in implementing energy projects, while Prime Minister Tobgay praised India’s remarkable growth in renewable energy, citing initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and the National Green Hydrogen Mission.

Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the joint energy projects’ functionality and their contribution to Bhutan’s economic development. They anticipated the commissioning of the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydro-electric Project and welcomed discussions on the 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I HEP’s efficient progression. They recognized the potential benefits of the India-Bhutan energy partnership in enhancing energy security, economic strengthening, job creation, export growth, and industrial and financial capacity development.

Both sides identified numerous opportunities to further enhance bilateral clean energy cooperation, including through the development of new energy projects and electricity trade. They agreed to collaborate on hydropower, solar, and green hydrogen projects, with Indian entities participating as strategic partners. The Indian government pledged to facilitate financing access for Bhutan’s new hydropower projects and support market access for Bhutanese power producers.

Prime Ministers Modi and Tobgay affirmed the importance of continued power exchange between the two countries for regional energy security. They committed to regular consultations to foster investments in Bhutan’s energy projects and ensure smooth cross-border electricity trade. Additionally, they vowed to bolster sub-regional energy cooperation for mutual stakeholder benefit.

The leaders also pledged to strengthen cooperation in energy efficiency and conservation through capacity building, policy and technology exchange, and research and development in energy-efficient technologies.

Prime Minister Modi’s two-day state visit to Bhutan from March 22-23 included a warm welcome from the Bhutanese people, the conferment of Bhutan’s highest civilian honor, ‘Order of the Druk Gyalpo’, and engagements with King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, including attending cultural events and bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Tobgay, resulting in the exchange of several Memorandums of Understanding.

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