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Bhutan’s electricity exports to India remain undented despite Covid pandemic

Bhutan exports about 70 electricity produced within the country to India

Notwithstanding the Covid 19 pandemic blues, Bhutan’s exports of electricity including hydropower increased significantly in 2020.

A report by South Asia Subregional Economic Co-operation (SASEC), Bhutan’s economic development is linked with the growth of its hydropower sector. The Himalayan nation exports about 70 per cent of energy generated within the country to India. 

According to the Bhutan based news organisation Keunsel, country-wise, exports to India — the largest trading partner — accounted for 33 per cent. Electricity, cement, cardamom and minerals are some of Bhutan’s major exports to India. Meanwhile, about 76 per cent of total imported goods including fuel, food items and pharmaceutical items have been sourced from India.

Bangladesh and Nepal are the two other top export destinations of Bhutan.

Bilateral trade between India and Bhutan is conducted in Indian Rupees which is fully convertible to Ngultrum at par.

According to the Indian Embassy in Bhutan, though the Himalayan country has an adverse balance of trade with New Delhi, the balance of payment position with India ended last year with a surplus.

“Some years back, a Rupee shortage had led to severe compression of imports. However, the medium term outlook is good as hydel capacity is expected to increase from 1600 MW currently to nearly 5000 MW within the next five years. More than 90 per cent of the power generated will be exported to India,” an official statement said.