Bhutan-India Energy Partnership: A New Era of Collaboration and Prosperity

In a historic move that promises to enhance the bilateral relations between Bhutan and India, the two nations have pledged to deepen their clean energy partnership, signaling a new era of cooperation and mutual growth. This commitment was solidified through the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Bhutan Energy Partnership’ unveiled during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit, marked by warmth and camaraderie, set the stage for extensive discussions with his Bhutanese counterpart, Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay. The talks, described as “fruitful and wide-ranging,” reaffirmed the leaders’ dedication to elevating the exemplary bilateral relationship, a bond characterized by deep-rooted trust, friendship, and shared visions for the future.

The cornerstone of this renewed partnership is the focus on clean energy collaboration, a sector where Bhutan and India have already achieved significant milestones. Noteworthy is the success of the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydro-electric Project, with both nations now eagerly anticipating the commissioning of the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydro-electric Project. Discussions on the 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I HEP also underscore the commitment to sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions.

Prime Minister Tobgay lauded India’s strides in renewable energy under Modi’s leadership, particularly highlighting the International Solar Alliance and India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission. In return, Modi acknowledged the growing prowess of Bhutanese firms in energy project implementation, a testament to Bhutan’s evolving domestic capabilities.

The dialogue extended beyond hydroelectric power, embracing the potential in solar energy and green hydrogen. The leaders envisaged a partnership where Indian entities could become strategic partners in Bhutan’s energy ventures, thereby fostering economic development, creating jobs, and enhancing both nations’ energy security.

A pivotal aspect of the discussions was the agreement to facilitate Bhutanese power producers’ market access, ensuring the continued role of power exchange in regional energy security. Moreover, the two governments committed to regular consultations, aiming to bolster investments in Bhutan’s energy sector and facilitate seamless cross-border electricity trade.

In a shared vision for the future, both prime ministers emphasized the importance of advancing energy efficiency and conservation through collaborative efforts in capacity building, policy exchange, and technological innovation.

The visit of Prime Minister Modi, rooted in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy, is a significant step in strengthening the unique bond with Bhutan. It underscores a shared commitment to harnessing the “unprecedented opportunities” in clean energy, setting a course toward a sustainable, prosperous future for both nations. As Bhutan and India chart this journey together, the horizon promises not just enhanced energy security, but a stronger, interlinked economic and industrial landscape for the region.

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