India, Bhutan looking at new cross-border rail link between Banarhat-Samtse

India and Bhutan have agreed on the final location survey of the first cross-border rail link between the two sides as part of enhanced connectivity for further strengthening bilateral ties.

According to the joint statement issued late on Monday night after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, the two sides have agreed on a final location survey for the proposed cross-border rail link connecting Kokrajhar in Assam to Gelephu in Bhutan with Indian support.

The two sides also agreed to consider establishing a rail link between Banarhat in West Bengal and Samtse in Bhutan.

The meeting between Prime Minister Modi and the visiting Bhutanese King, who is on a week-long trip to India, assumes importance in the backdrop of China making desperate efforts to spread its influence in the Himalayan kingdomn.

Prime Minister Modi assured the king of India’s commitment to its friendship and cooperation with Bhutan and reiterated the country’s “continued and full support to the socio-economic development in Bhutan”, according to a joint statement.

India will also provide bridge financing to Bhutan for period between the 12th and 13th five-year plans of Bhutan for India-assisted projects and schemes.

The two sides also reiterated the importance of co-operation in the hydropower sector and their commitment to advance it further. 

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