WHEN Prime Minister Manmohan Singh goes to Bhutan next week, his main activity will be to start off power projects, Indrani Bagchi writes in The Times of India. (Click for full report)
It’s part of an important strategy for regional diplomacy – after connectivity, electricity is becoming a vital instrument in India‘s foreign policy in the region.
This is part of an economic diplomacy project conceived by Jairam Ramesh, Pranab Mukherjee and foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon.
It involves helping neighbours like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, (and who knows, Pakistan at a later stage) build power projects which will take care of local and Indian needs.
In many ways, it promises to shift the paradigm of regional diplomacy and regional development, said senior government sources.
India already has a good thing going with Bhutan. Following an agreement in 2002, India is committed to import 5,000 MW of power by 2020.
Following the 1,020 MW Tala project from which Bhutan is already selling power to India, will be the 1,080 MW Putasangchu-1 project. The rest will come from the 1,000 MW Putasangchu-2 and the 600 MW Mengdechu project, also in Bhutan.