Highlights

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering jointly launched RuPay card Phase II. Under Phase II Bhutan citizens will allow to access RuPay network in India. Before Phase II, In August 2019 Government of India lauched phase I.

The implementation of Phase I of Rupay cards enabled visitors from India to access PoS (Point of Sale) terminals and ATM terminals across Bhutan. Now, the phase II that is being launched will allow Bhutanese card holders to access RuPay network in India.

India-Bhutan Relations & trade

The strong bilateral relations between both countries was formed by the Indo-Bhutan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1949.

The bilateral trade between both countries was renewed in 2016. The both sides trade stood at Rupees 4,318 crores.

Geographical Significance

There are Northeastern Indian states that share international border with Bhutan are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim. Bhutan serves as a buffer between India and China.

SAARC

Under SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), the currency swap limit between India and SAARC is $100 million. India and Bhutan jointly inaugurated Rupees 7 crore ground earth station that was developed with the assistance from Indian Space Research Organisation.

India-Bhutan Hydroelectric Projects

The major Hydroelectric Projects carried out by Bhutan under India’s assistance are

  • 60 MegaWatt Kurichhu Hydroelectric Project
  • 1020 MegaWatt Tala Hydroelectric project
  • 336 MegaWatt Chukha Hydroelectric projects

India provided Rupees 3,400 crores of financial assistance to Bhutan during its 10th five-year plan.

Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

The Central Government deployed 12 battalions of SSB along the border. The Sashastra Seema Bal is deployed along the border of Bhutan and Nepal. Sashastra Seema Bal was established in 1963. The primary purpose of SSB was to counter the aggression of Chinese Army. It is currently operating under Ministry of Home Affairs. India and Bhutan launched RuPay Card Phase II India and Bhutan launched RuPay Card Phase II