Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration is working on taking a decision on his first foreign tour. The destination may be the neighboring Bhutan. The tour may happen in the third week of this month, soon after the Parliament sessions. A team of officials is learned to be leaving for Thimpu to set up Modi’s visit there.
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay has made strong pitch to the Prime Minster of India, Mr. Modi to visit his country during his visit here on the latter’s oath taking. Though similar invitations were extended by all the visiting leaders, Modi’s administration has chosen Bhutan as the first stop for Modi’s bilateral policy.
Nepal was judged to be the natural choice for the right wing government of India to visit first , as the country was the only Hindu nation till recently. But as the SAARC summit is scheduled in Nepal in November, going there now was ruled out. The border issues with Bangladesh, the decision of stringent action against Bangla insurgents, has rendered Bangladesh unsuitable for a first trip of the leader. Afghanistan is seeing a change in leadership, hence that nation was also ruled out.
Bhutan has traditionally had good ties with India. It’s economy is mostly dependent on India. As the Country is mostly Buddhist and is a Constitutional Monarchy, the choice of Bhutan might also send a message to north-eastern states that the new administration is going to give great importance to the region and also to China, which has been making many incursions into Indian regions of the area.
As a country that is keener on improving the “Gross National Happiness,” Bhutan may definitely leave Modi and India several moments of happiness ahead.
UPDATE: There are reports in the media that the PM will visit Japan and the tour may happen at the end of this month or the next month. If this will be his first foreign tour, or he will go to Bhutan first, is yet to emerge.