Modi receives Bhutan's highest civilian award for 'unconditional support'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Friday awarded Bhutan's highest civilian award, the Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo or the Order of The Druk Gyalpo. "Overjoyed to hear His Majesty pronounce Your Excellency Modiji's Narendra Modi name for the highest civilian decoration, Order of the Druk Gyalpo," said the Bhutan-PMO in a Facebook post. They highlighted the "unconditional support" Modi offered, especially during the pandemic.
Why does this story matter?
Since 1968, India and Bhutan have had a unique and long-standing bilateral relationship marked by trust, goodwill, and mutual understanding. In 2018, the two countries' entire bilateral trade was Rs. 9,227.7 crores. Almost 4,000 Bhutanese students are enrolled in Indian universities, making India the most popular educational destination for them. Both countries have an open border that sees regular traffic both ways.
What did the Bhutan PMO say?
"[His Majesty] highlighted all the unconditional friendship and support Modiji extended over the years and particularly during the pandemic," it said in a Facebook post. They congratulated him and termed the award "much deserving." "In all interactions, seen Your Excellency as a great, spiritual human being," said the PMO. "Looking forward to celebrating the honor in person," it said.
India remains Bhutan's economic ally
Since the early 1960s, when Bhutan established its Five Year Plans, India has provided economic aid to Bhutan's socio-economic growth. Bhutan's primary development partner remains to be India to date. India's contribution of Rs. 4,500 crore will account for 73% of Bhutan's overall external grant component in the 12th Five-Year Plan. A few key areas of focus are agriculture, health, development, education, culture, etc.