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

First Published: 23rd March, 2024 8:17 IST

Prime Minister Modi appreciated growing domestic capacity of Bhutanese firms and technical agencies in the implementation of energy projects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay reviewed all aspects of bilateral energy cooperation and, welcomed the expert-level discussions on the 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I Hydro-electric Project, adding that they look forward to the commissioning of the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydro-electric Project later this year.

During PM Modi’s state visit to Bhutan, the two leaders noted the stellar contribution of the clean energy partnership in the development of the hydropower sector of Bhutan, and in providing energy security to the region, the Joint Vision Statement on India – Bhutan Energy Partnership said.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated growing domestic capacity of Bhutanese firms and technical agencies in the implementation of energy projects.

Bhutan PM Tobgay also congratulated PM Modi for the remarkable growth of India’s renewable energy sector in recent years, and for his leadership in fostering initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and the National Green Hydrogen Mission of India.
Both the leaders reviewed all aspects of bilateral energy cooperation and expressed satisfaction that projects, which have been jointly implemented, are functioning well and contributing to economic development in Bhutan.
“Building on the success of the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydro-electric Project, the two leaders look forward to commissioning the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydro-electric Project this year. Both sides welcomed the positive expert-level discussions on a technically sound and cost-effective way forward for 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I HEP,” the statement read.

PM Modi and PM Tobgay agreed that the India-Bhutan energy partnership has the potential to benefit both countries by enhancing energy security, strengthening their economies, generating employment, enhancing export earnings, and contributing to the further development of industrial and financial capacities.

They said that there are ‘unprecedented opportunities’ to further strengthen this mutually beneficial bilateral clean energy partnership, including through the development of new energy projects and trade in electricity.

The two leaders have agreed to engage in the development of new energy projects in the fields of hydropower, solar and green hydrogen, including through the participation of Indian entities as strategic partners.

India and Bhutan will review and finalise project-specific implementation modalities for new projects, including reservoir hydro projects.

The Indian government will facilitate necessary access to financing from financial institutions in India as well as the market for power sales for new and upcoming hydro-power projects in Bhutan.

PM Modi and PM Tobgay affirmed that power exchange between the two countries will continue to play an important role in ensuring energy security in the region. In this regard, market access to Bhutanese power producers will be facilitated in accordance with applicable domestic regulations and procedures, through mutually agreed arrangements and delivery points.

India and Bhutan, in view of the evolving energy markets, will hold regular consultations to enable investments in energy projects of Bhutan, and ensure seamless cross-border trade in electricity.

They have agreed to work towards greater sub-regional energy cooperation, which would lead to increased inter-linkages between the economies for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen energy cooperation in the field of energy efficiency and energy conservation through capacity development, information exchange on policies and technologies, and research and development on energy-efficient technologies, the statement added.

PM Modi is currently on a two-day state visit to Bhutan from March 22-23.

Upon his arrival, he received a rousing welcome from the people who turned out in large numbers to accord him a warm reception in Bhutan.

Prime Minister Modi was conferred with ‘Order of the Druk Gyalpo’ Bhutan’s highest civilian honour. He became only the first foreign dignitary and the fourth person to receive this award.

He called on Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck at the Tashichho Dzong Palace in Thimphu and attended a cultural program at the Tendrelthang Festival Ground in the presence of the Bhutan King.

PM Modi also held a bilateral meeting with Bhutan counterpart Tshering Tobgay and several MOUs were exchanged in the presence of the two leaders. (ANI)

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