The Union Cabinet on 20 April 2016 gave its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bhutan. The two nations will ink an agreement on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering.
The decision was taken at a Union Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The MoU will provide an umbrella for educational, scientific & technical research and environment protection which are also stated aim of the India-Bhutan Foundation established in August 2003.
Through this MoU, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) will stand to gain in terms of experience in hills road construction which is of paramount importance in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and various States of North-East Region. The CPWD also expects to garner some road construction projects in Bhutan.
The MoU is in furtherance of Article 2, 7 and 8 of the India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty that was inked in New Delhi in February 2007.
At present, the two countries are supporting each other in an already ongoing Hydro Power Cooperation which provides an exemplary template for mutual cooperation.
India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty
India re-negotiated the 1949 treaty with Bhutan and signed a new treaty of friendship in 2007. The new treaty replaced the provision requiring Bhutan to take India's guidance on foreign policy with broader sovereignty and not require Bhutan to obtain India's permission over arms imports. In 2008, India's then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Bhutan and expressed strong support for Bhutan's move towards democracy.
The Indian-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, which was signed in New Delhi on 8 February 2007, came into force following the exchange of Instruments of Ratification between the two governments in Thimphu on 2 March 2007.
In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither Government shall allow theuse of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other.
The Government of Bhutan and the Government of India agree to promote cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. These shall be extended to such areas as education, health, sports, science and technology.
The Government of Bhutan and the Government of India agree to continue to consolidate and expand their economic cooperation for mutual and longterm benefit.
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When: 20 April 2016