Project DANTAK

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    Project DANTAK completes 60 years in Bhutan.

    About Project DANTAK

    • It was established on April 24, 1961, as a result of the visionary leadership of His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. 
    • The project was tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in the Kingdom. 

    Notable achievements of the project 

    • DANTAK completed the road connecting Samdrup Jongkhar to Trashigang in 1968.
    • Some other notable projects executed by the project include the construction of Paro Airport, Yonphula Airfield, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication & Hydro Power Infrastructure, Sherubtse College, Kanglung and India House Estate.
    • The famous Takthi Canteen midway between Phuentsholing and Thimphu has been a compulsory stop for travellers.

    Significance

    • It Identified the utmost importance of connectivity in spurring the socio-economic development and growth of Bhutan.
    • Over the years, DANTAK has met the myriad infrastructure requirements in Bhutan in accordance with the vision of Their Majesties and the aspirations of the people in a symbiotic manner.
    • The medical and education facilities established by DANTAK in far flung areas were often the first in those locations.
    • The food outlets along the road introduced the Bhutanese to Indian delicacies and developed a sweet tooth in them.

    India-Bhutan relations 

    Diplomatic relations

    • Diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan were established in 1968 with the establishment of a special office of India in Thimphu. 
    • The basic framework of India-Bhutan bilateral relations is the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949  between the two countries and revised in February 2007.
    • India and Bhutan share a unique and time tested bilateral relationship, characterized by utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding. 

    Economic Assistance 

    • India has been extending economic assistance to Bhutan’s socio-economic development since the early 1960s when Bhutan launched its Five Year Plans. 
    • India continues to be the principal development partner of Bhutan. 
    • India’s contribution of Rs. 4500 cr. will constitute 73% of Bhutan’s total external grant component under various key areas.

    Hydro-power cooperation

    • Mutually beneficial hydro-power cooperation with Bhutan forms the core of bilateral economic cooperation. 
    • For Bhutan, hydropower development continues to be a  vital catalyst for socio-economic development. 
    • The ongoing cooperation between India and  Bhutan in the hydro-power sector is covered under the 2006 bilateral agreement for cooperation and its Protocol signed in 2009. Four hydroelectric projects (HEPs) totalling 2136 MW are already operational in Bhutan and are supplying electricity to India. 
    • The 720 MW Mangdechhu was commissioned in August 2019. Two HEPs namely, 1200 MW 

    Trade 

    • India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner. In 2018, total bilateral trade between the two countries stood at Rs. 9227.7 crores. 
    • Major exports from India to Bhutan are mineral products, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, base metals, vehicles, vegetable products, plastics and articles. 
    • The major items of export from Bhutan to India are electricity, ferrosilicon, portland cement, dolomite, carbides of calcium carbides of silicon, cement clinkers, timber and wood products, potatoes, cardamom and fruit products. 

    Education 

    • India is the most popular educational destination for Bhutanese students -almost 4000 Bhutanese students are enrolled in Indian Universities at any time, many of whom are also provided scholarships by the Govt. of India.
    • Bhutanese students are enrolled in Indian Universities at any time, many of whom are also provided scholarships by the Govt. of India. 

    Cultural exchanges

    • There are vibrant cultural exchanges between the two countries. A number of Bhutanese pilgrims travel to holy Buddhist sites in India. Reflecting the special nature of the relationship, the two countries share an open border with regular exchange of travellers in both directions for work, tourism, shopping, medical care etc.

    Source :PIB