NEW DELHI, Dec 17, 2021, Hindustan Times. The country of Bhutan on Friday conferred its highest civilian award, Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the head of state of the country, pronounced Modi’s name for the much-coveted civilian decoration and highlighted the “unconditional friendship” and support that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, had extended to Bhutan over the years and particularly during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Hindustan Times reported.
“Much deserving! Congratulations from the people of Bhutan,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of the country noted in an official post on Facebook. “In all interactions, seen Your Excellency as a great, spiritual human being. Looking forward to celebrating the honour in person.”
According to the ministry of external affairs, mutually beneficial economic inter-linkages between India and Bhutan have been an important element in bilateral relations. India continues to be the largest trade and development partner of Bhutan and has extended its assistance to several developmental projects in the country – such as the 1020 MW Tala Hydroelectric Project, Paro Airport, and the Bhutan Broadcasting Station.
In addition, India is also a leading trade partner of Bhutan, with a free trade regime existing between the two countries. Bhutan was, in fact, the first country to receive the Narendra Modi regime’s gift of Covid-19 vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). Earlier this year in January, the country received the first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine from India as a gift.
Later, the Himalayan country also received an additional 400,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from India, thus enabling the nationwide inoculation process against the pandemic. Bhutan’s prime minister Lotay Tshering, expressing his gratitude, prayed that these gestures turn into boundless blessings for the people of India.
“Pleased to receive additional 400,000 doses of Covishield, making possible the nationwide rollout of our vaccination programme,” Tshering had tweeted, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The people of Bhutan and I remain grateful.”
Last year, Prime Minister Modi had visited Bhutan to diversify partnership with the kingdom from the hydro-power sector and to enhance trade and linkages in space and education.