‘Unprecedented opportunities to strengthen beneficial clean energy India-Bhutan partnership’, ET EnergyWorld

Thimphu: India and Bhutan on Friday agreed that there are “unprecedented opportunities” to further strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral clean energy partnership, including through the development of new energy projects and trade in electricity. This was spelt out in a ‘Joint Vision Statement on India – Bhutan Energy Partnership’ issued on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the Himalayan nation on a two-day State visit.

“India and Bhutan share an exemplary bilateral relationship characterised by trust, goodwill and mutual understanding at all levels, strong bonds of friendship and close people-to-people contacts,” it said.

Prime Minister Modi and Bhutanese Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay had “fruitful and wide-ranging discussions” in Thimphu wherein the two leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to taking this extraordinary bilateral partnership to new heights, looking into the future”.

The two leaders noted the “stellar contribution” of the clean energy partnership in the development of the hydropower sector of Bhutan, and in providing energy security to the region.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated the growing domestic capacity of Bhutanese firms and technical agencies in the implementation of energy projects, it added.

Prime Minister Tobgay congratulated his Indian counterpart for the “remarkable growth” of India’s renewable energy sector in recent years and for his leadership in fostering initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and the National Green Hydrogen Mission of India.

“Both the prime ministers reviewed all aspects of bilateral energy cooperation and expressed satisfaction that projects, which have been jointly implemented, are functioning well and contributing to economic development in Bhutan,” the joint statement said.

Building on the success of the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydro-electric Project, the two leaders look forward to commissioning the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydro-electric Project this year. Both sides welcomed the positive expert-level discussions on a technically sound and cost-effective way forward for 1200 MW Punatsangchhu – I HEP.

Both the prime ministers agreed that the India-Bhutan energy partnership has the “potential to benefit both the countries” by enhancing energy security, strengthening their economies, generating employment, enhancing export earnings, and contributing to the further development of industrial and financial capacities.

“That there are unprecedented opportunities to further strengthen this mutually beneficial bilateral clean energy partnership, including through the development of new energy projects and trade in electricity,” it said.

They also agreed to engage in the development of new energy projects in the fields of hydropower, solar and green hydrogen, including through the participation of Indian entities as strategic partners.

Also, both governments will review and finalise project-specific implementation modalities for new projects, including reservoir hydro projects.

They further agreed that the government of India will “facilitate necessary access” to financing from financial institutions in India as well as the market for power sale for new and upcoming hydro-power projects in Bhutan.

“Power exchange between the two countries shall continue to play an important role in ensuring energy security in the region. In this regard, market access to Bhutanese power producers will be facilitated in accordance with applicable domestic regulations and procedures, through mutually agreed arrangements and delivery points,” it added.

In view of the evolving energy markets, they also agreed to hold regular consultations for enabling investments in energy projects of Bhutan, and for ensuring seamless cross-border trade in electricity, as well as to work towards greater sub-regional energy cooperation, which would lead to increased inter-linkages between the economies for mutual benefit of all stakeholders.

The two leaders also agreed to “strengthen energy cooperation in the field of energy efficiency and energy conservation through capacity development, information exchange on policies and technologies, and research and development on energy-efficient technologies”.

Both the prime ministers agreed to “expedite movement” on projects and initiatives on the basis of the joint vision statement for mutual benefit.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit seeks to further cement India’s unique and enduring relations with Bhutan as part of the country’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy.

  • Published On Mar 23, 2024 at 01:37 AM IST

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