Modi addresses Bhutan parliament, commits more support

Modi addressing the joint session of Bhutanese parliament. Photo:
Modi addressing the joint session of Bhutanese parliament. Photo:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the joint session of the Parliament of Bhutan (National Assembly and National Council) in Thimphu on Monday (16 June).

Modi said that in the last century or so, while the global trend has largely been of expansion and centralization of power, Bhutan has been an exception. It laid the strong foundation for democracy, and has made the transition to a constitutionally established democracy.

He said seven years is a short time in the history of a country’s democracy. But in this short time, the people of Bhutan have developed faith in the institutions of democracy. There has also been a change in Government. This reflects the maturity and awareness of the people. Shri Modi said India had also witnessed an election recently, and the people of India had voted for good governance and development.

Referring to the welcome remarks by Jigme Zangpo, Speaker of the National Assembly, that the stronger India is, the better it is for Bhutan, Modi said he agreed and added the region would benefit if India is prosperous.

Modi said India-Bhutan relationship is not just based on administrative ties but based on shared cultural heritage. Modi did not fail to mention that India-Bhutan relations will continue to strengthen desire changes in the leadership.

“We have opened our hearts for each other. Leaderships may change, but these open hearts will not close, and the heritage that this relationship represented would be nurtured by future generations. India’s people and Government are committed to it.”


He appreciated the development Bhutan achieved and express hope that in future, many small countries across the world will treat this as a model. He said, ‘while the world talks of GDP, you talk of Gross National Happiness, and this is because the leadership is concerned about the last man in the line.’

Modi said his government will support Bhutan to set up an e-library, helping the youths to connect with the world. He said India would also double the scholarships that are being given to Bhutanese students.

Stating that India and Bhutan must think of how to take the relationship even further, Shri Modi suggested that the Himalayan states of India, along with Bhutan, and perhaps Nepal, could hold a sports meet every year. He said connecting people through sports, brings sportsman spirit, and that contributes to happiness.

The Prime Minister said India’s space technology could also be harnessed to help Bhutan develop even further.

The Prime Minister said India and Bhutan could together form a holistic approach to tourism, and develop a circuit combining India’s North-Eastern states and Bhutan. He said “Terrorism divides. Tourism unites,” and added that if Bhutan’s natural wealth and capabilities join together, it will be a big invitation for the world.

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