India-Bhutan Relations.

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India-made Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan wins top UK engineers body award​

New Delhi: The Mangdechhu Hydroelectric project in Bhutan, constructed by India has been awarded the Brunel Medal 2020 conferred by UK's top engineering body — Institute of Civil Engineers.
The award, named after Isambard Kingdom Brunel who is known as 19th century engineering giant, was announced on October 5.

The Indian and Bhutanese Prime Ministers had jointly inaugurated the 720MW Project on August 17, 2019. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the project a "crucial milestone celebrating India-Bhutan ties" and "this project shows how the two nations working together can bring immense positivity in the lives of people,"
India's Ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Kamboj expressed her happiness, saying, “I am delighted that the Mangdechhu Award jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi and Dr. Lotay Tshering in Bhutan last year, has been conferred the prestigious Brunel Medal. A rightful recognition of its excellence, as well as an outstanding example of our two countries working together towards a shared goal.”

The construction began in 2012 and was completed in a record time of seven years with the approximate cost of Rs/Nu 5000 crores. India funded the project through a 70 per cent loan and a 30 per cent grant to Bhutan.
The Mangdechhu Project has earned a revenue of Rs./Nu. 1300 crores within one year of commissioning, which has exceeded the projected target of Rs/Nu 1200 crores. All four units of the project are running at full capacity and generating 18.7 Million Units/day at 779 MW since August 2, 2020. The project is a run of the river project located in the Trongsa district of Bhutan.

So far, India has constructed four Hydroelectric Projects in Bhutan inclusive of the 1020 MW Tala Hydroelectric project (HEP), the 336 MW Chukha HEP, the 60 MW Kurichhu HEP and the 720 MW Mangdechhu HEP. Three Hydroelectric projects the 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I, the 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II and the 600 MW Kholongchhu are under construction.
 
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RISING SUN

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India to launch Bhutan’s satellite next year, train space engineers​

India and Bhutan on Thursday launched the second phase of the RuPay Card scheme as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch Bhutan’s satellite next year.

The two sides signed a framework agreement on Thursday for enhancing cooperation in the peaceful uses of space that will foster collaboration between several institutions of the two countries.

“I am happy that work is progressing fast for Isro to send Bhutan’s satellite into space next year. For this, four young space engineers from Bhutan will come to Isro in December [for training],” Modi said during the virtual launch ceremony for the second phase of the RuPay Card scheme.

India will support Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s efforts to use advanced technology, including ICT and space technology, for the development of the neighbouring country, he said. In this regard, state-run BSNL is currently working on the third international Internet gateway for Bhutan.

A ground earth station in Bhutan for using India’s South Asia satellite was inaugurated during Modi’s visit to the country in August last year, and Thimphu is using the facility for broadcasting and disaster management.

Bhutan launched its first nano-satellite Bhutan-1, which was built with Japan’s assistance, on a SpaceX rocket in June 2018.

Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering jointly launched the second phase of the RuPay Card scheme that will allow Bhutanese card-holders to access ATMs and point-of-sale terminals across India. The project’s first phase, which enabled Indian visitors to access ATMs and point-of-sale terminals across Bhutan, was launched during Modi’s visit last year.

There have been 11,000 successful RuPay transactions in Bhutan so far and the figure would have been higher if travel between the two sides hadn’t been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi said. The RuPay cards issued to Bhutanese citizens will allow them to access more than 100,000 ATMs and two million point-of-sale terminals across India.

Tshering said the two countries are “connected at heart” and thanked India for support in countering Covid-19. He also said he was thankful for India’s assurance to make Covid-19 vaccines available for Bhutan once they are ready.
 
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