Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake his first foreign trip as head of government to Bhutan from Sunday, and according to Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh, the visit will be a lot closer to home.
Singh said Modi would be on a goodwill visit 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.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be paying a goodwill visit to Bhutan on 15th and 16th June, 2014 at the invitation of his majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the king of Bhutan," Singh said in New Delhi. "In Bhutan, 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.