New Delhi, June 14 ANI | 5 months ago

Senior journalist and political commentator Neerja Choudhary on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bhutan showed the primacy he was giving to the South East Asia region.

"The Prime Minister's visit to Bhutan shows his primacy to this region. This was already proved by his decision to invite the SAARC leaders to his swearing-in ceremony," said Choudhary.

"Bhutan is small country, but very important. It is landlocked between India and China, and has skillfully maintained its position between the two rival countries. He has chosen Bhutan, because for him, the South Asian region is important. Afterwards, it is the whole of Asia and then the rest of the countries follow in his list," Choudhary said.

On being asked whether Modi wants to improve relations with other SAARC nations, Choudhary said, "This is right, because, till the time your neighborhood is not secure, things will not work out. A country's security lies in the goodwill it has with other countries. If there is no goodwill, then your money will be wasted, as it has happened in the case of Pakistan. Therefore, it is a welcome step."

She also said that as Prime Minister Modi has said that if you want to develop the country, then states need to be developed. The same can be applied to the South East Asian region also.

Modi will undertake his first foreign trip as head of government to Bhutan on June 15 and 16.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and senior officials will accompany the Prime Minister, the foreign secretary said.

The Prime Minister will meet his majesty, the King of Bhutan, the 4th Druk Gayalpo, and the Prime Minister of Bhutan. The Prime Minister will also address the joint session of the national assembly and the national council of Bhutan and meet the leader of the opposition. Discussions during the visit will include the whole gamut of bilateral relations.

Modi, who had invited South Asian leaders to his swearing in on May 26, has sought to convert his landslide election victory last month into a platform to pursue a more assertive foreign policy and promote trade and investment.

But, rather than Washington, Beijing or Tokyo, the 63-year-old leader will first visit Bhutan, a landlocked kingdom sandwiched between India and Chinese Tibet that has a population of less than one million.

(Posted on 14-06-2014)

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