India and Bhutan continued to share uniquely warm and cordial relations, which were further strengthened during the year through regular high level interactions. The year also witnessed the coronation of the 5th King of Bhutan. PM Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Bhutan from 16-17 May, 2008 during which he addressed the first session of the democratically elected Parliament. During the visit, PM announced that India will double the target of hydropower development in Bhutan to 10,000 MW for export to India by 2020; Government of India’s assistance for construction of the first rail link between India and Bhutan, and establishment of the prestigious Nehru-Wangchuck scholarships for Bhutanese students.
Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, paid a state visit to India from 14-17 July, 2008 and again visited India from 12-14 November, 2008 to participate in the 2nd BIMSTEC Summit in New Delhi. President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil accompanied by the then EAM Shri Pranab Mukherjee paid a state visit to Bhutan from 5-8 November, 2008 as Chief Guest at the formal coronation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan.
Bhutan celebrated 2008 as the Golden Jubilee Year of the visit of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Bhutan in 1958. A Parliamentary delegation from Bhutan visited India during February 2009 and had interaction with their counterparts in India.
India-Bhutan bilateral relations are characterized by close consultations, maturity, complete trust and mutual understanding and are an example of good neighbourly relations. This special relationship is further sustained by the tradition of regular visits and exchange of views at the highest levels. The Government of India has committed to extend full support and cooperation to the Royal Government of Bhutan for consolidation of democracy following the installation of the first democratically elected Parliament and Government in Bhutan in May 2008. India has been the largest trade and development partner of Bhutan, Ever since Bhutan initiated planned development efforts in the early 1960s India has been extending financial assistance to Bhutan’s Five Year Plans (FYP). Recently, Government of India has committed to develop 10,000 MW of hydropower in Bhutan for export to India by 2020.