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India and Bhutan think big — to build smart city, rail link along border and conncectivity with Bangladesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Bhutan King in New Delhi on Monday.

India and Bhutan are taking their relationships to new heights upgrading border and immigration posts. The venture is aimed to assist Bhutan’s fifth king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s plans to turn Gelphu into a smart city along the Bhutan and Assam border.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Bhutan King in New Delhi on Monday.

Commenting upon the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the two leaders “held discussions on a gamut of bilateral cooperation and regional and global issues of mutual interest.”

One more outcome of Modi-Wangchuck meeting was that the countries apart from going ahead with the final survey for the 58-km crossborder rail link between Gelephu and Kokrajhar in Assam to be built by India, the two sides agreed to explore a second rail link for about 18 km between Samtse in Bhutan and Barhat in West Bengal’s tea garden area.

India has also agreed to allow Bhutanese trade items to be carried further on from Haldibari in West Bengal to Chilahati in Bangladesh.

Apart from the go-ahead for the two short distance crossborder rail link projects, India and Bhutan agreed to designate the Darranga-Samdrup Jongkhar border crossing between Assam and Bhutan’s less developed South-eastern district as an immigration check post, so as to allow third country nationals and exit as well.

The Bhutanese King thanked the Indian government for its development assistance for Bhutan’s 12th Five-year Plan (2018-23) that ended on October 31.

The Bhutanese King was on Tuesday expected to fly to Mumbai where he was scheduled to meet with “heads of top business houses.”