Sheikh Hasina visits Bhutan, bilateral trade agreement reached; India’s developmental assistance to Bhutan’s tenth plan discussed; CEC Chawla visits Bhutan
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  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached Thimphu on November 6, along with a 44 member delegation. Both countries signed a bilateral trade agreement on November 7 which eliminates tariff on 18 major agricultural products that Bhutan exports to Bangladesh. Another key feature of the bilateral trade agreement was the inclusion of a new trade route expected to benefit Eastern Bhutan. This route to Tamabil, Northeastern Bangladesh passes through the Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya and is the fifth trade route that Thimphu and Dhaka have identified to augment bilateral trade.1

    A meeting to discuss India’s developmental assistance to Bhutan’s tenth plan was recently held. An Empowered Joint Group (EJG) of Ministers from both countries was formed to accelerate the process of meeting the targeted production of 10,000 MW of electricity by 2020.2 Discussions also were held on improving the Gelephu–Santabari (Assam) road, a vital road link for mega-hydro projects like Punatshangchu I and II, Chamkarchhu I and Mangdechu.

    India’s Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla paid a four day visit to Bhutan recently. Mr. Chawla’s visit was expected to further strengthen ongoing collaboration between the election commissions of the two countries. Bhutan and India had signed a MoU on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration in May 2006.3