India’s External Affairs Minister to visit Bhutan

India’s External Affairs Minister of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will visit Bhutan today after a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus. Bhutan was among

India's External Affairs Minister

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Photo: TPI

India’s External Affairs Minister of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will visit Bhutan today after a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus.

Bhutan was among the first set of nations to receive India-made Covishield vaccines early last year as part of India’s “Vaccine Maitri” initiative for developing countries. Literally translated as “Vaccine Friendship,” the vaccine drive has been part of India’s wider move to strengthen its position as a benevolent partner of South Asian nations.

Traditional India-Bhutan diplomatic and economic ties are deeply interlinked, and India’s vaccine drive supported Bhutan’s highly successful management of the pandemic. Bhutan has therefore excelled in sustaining its population throughout the pandemic with a continuous relief-fund package despite a cost of 52.2 million USD.

Bhutan’s personal success comes as the country seeks to situate itself as a strengthened country in the face of dependence on India for foreign aid and the export of hydropower, while also balancing Chinese tourism and increasing diplomatic exchanges with China. In the medium-term, as Bhutan’s policy of economic liberalization and domestic private development continues to expand, it will simultaneously continue to prioritize its close strategic relationship with India.

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