Visit of Indian Foreign Minister to Bhutan

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will visit Bhutan today after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. Bhutan was among

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

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will visit Bhutan today after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.

Bhutan was among the first countries to receive Indian-made Covishield vaccines early last year under India’s “Vaccine Maitri” initiative for developing countries. Literally translated as “vaccine friendship”, the vaccination campaign is part of a wider initiative by India to strengthen its position as a benevolent partner of South Asian countries.

The traditional diplomatic and economic relations between India and Bhutan are deeply intertwined, and India’s vaccination campaign has supported the strong successful management of the pandemic. Bhutan has therefore excelled in sustaining its population throughout the pandemic with an ongoing relief fund program despite a cost of $52.2 million.

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

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Shirlene J. Manley