2006, July 28:
His Majesty the King met with the President of the Congress Party, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi in the Indian capital New Delhi today. Earlier today, Bhutan and India signed three agreements –the agreement on trade, commerce and transit, protocol to the agreement on the 1020 mega watt Tala Hydro Project, and the agreement on cooperation in the field of hydropower. The agreements were signed by the trade and industry minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, and the Indian Commerce Minister, Mr. Kamal Nath, and the Indian Power Minister, Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, in the presence of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.The agreement on trade, commerce and transit has been renewed for another ten years. It provides for free trade between the two countries. Trade between the two countries has grown from about four billion rupees in 1994 to about 18 billion rupees in 2004. A news release from the foreign ministry says the renewal of the agreement will further expand the ever-growing trade between the two countries. The protocol to the agreement on Tala establishes the export tariff for the sale of power from the 1020 megawatt Tala Hydropower Project to India. It also lays down the mechanism to review the tariff. The agreement on the cooperation in the field of hydropower is aimed at further strengthening the successful cooperation in hydropower between the two countries. Under the agreement, India will import a minimum of 5000-mega watts of electricity from Bhutan by 2020.
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince said the agreements symbolize the deep commitment of the two countries to their intimate bonds of cooperation and friendship. His Royal Highness said the personal commitment of the leadership of the two countries and the increasing population of young Bhutanese growing up with an appreciation for the wonderful role played by India throughout Bhutan’s modern development will ensure that this relationship will grow to ever greater strength year after year. The trade and industry minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, said the signing of the three agreements was a testimony of the trust and confidence that exists between the two countries. He said it would strengthen the excellent ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.