Free Press Journal

Strong, prosperous India in the interest of neighbours: Modi


Narendra Modi, Tshering Tobgay

Thimphu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today concluded his “extremely successful” first foreign visit since assuming office with a message to Bhutan and other neighbouring countries that a strong and prosperous India was in their interest.

The upshot of the two-day visit by India’s leader to this tiny kingdom was a decision by the two countries to scale up their ties that cover security interests and cooperation in a wide variety of fields.

Bhutan promised not to allow its territory to be used against India, an assurance that comes against the backdrop of militants from northeast taking shelter there.

The two countries agreed to continue with their close coordination and cooperation on issues relating to their national interests and not allow each other’s territory to be used for interests inimical to the other, said a joint statement issued at the end of the visit.

Modi later tweeted that the trip will remain etched in his memory. “This Bhutan trip will remain etched in my memory; It was a very satisfying & productive visit,” he said in a tweet on his return to Delhi.

Earlier, addressing the joint session of the Bhutanese National Assembly, Modi said a strong Bhutan will benefit India like a strong and prosperous India will  be beneficial for the countries of the region, especially the SAARC members.

“India’s prosperity is important as then it can help small countries and perform its duty of a good neighbour.  But if India is weak and struggling with its own problems, then how can it help others,” he said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who accompanied Modi on the visit, described the visit as “extremely successful” and that the Indian side was “extremely satisfied” with it.

Before winding up the visit, Modi gave an assurance that a change of government in Delhi will not affect their ties and past commitments will be fulfilled.