Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering on Friday virtually launched RuPay Card Phase II in Bhutan. During the launch ceremony, both the Prime Ministers asserted the friendly relations between the nations. Speaking through video conferencing, Tshering said: “I fondly remember the launch of the first phase during your visit. I am happy to note that with these arrangements, it will benefit the people of our two countries. Together we are leveraging digital technologies to enhance financial services in our region.”

He further applauded India’s COVID-19 response and appreciated PM Modi’s leadership in tackling the pandemic. “The Excellency’s (PM Modi) leadership in tackling the pandemic at home is highly commended. I’m sure India will come out much stronger from the pandemic. Furthermore, the lead that India is taking in developing vaccines is a source of hope for all of us. We’re thankful to you and your government for the assurance to make the vaccine available for Bhutan, once they are ready for clinical use,” he said.

Tshering further informed that an MoU has signed between two counterparts for cooperation in the space sector, which would inculcate knowledge of space, science and technology in children. While emphasising on friendly relations with Bhutan, PM Modi said: “During my trip to Bhutan, we initiated the first phase of RuPay Card between the two nations. Through this, by using the cards issued by Indian banks, Indian citizens were helped in making payments. I feel happy to know that there have been 11,000 successful RuPay card transactions in Bhutan, which could have definitely been more if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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He informed that through the RuPay Cards issued by the national banks in Bhutan, the Bhutanese people can access the facilities of around one lakh ATMs and 20 lakh point-of-sale terminals in India. Speaking on the space sector, PM Modi said: “Last year, I had inaugurated a Ground Earth Station for the use of South Asia Satellite. I am happy to note that through this station, the South Asia satellite has been put to better use for Bhutan Broadcasting and Disaster Management.”

“I am delighted that work is going on rapidly to send Bhutan’s satellite to space with the help of ISRO, next year. For this purpose, Bhutan’s four space engineers will go to ISRO in December, I send many regards to these four young people. I know that His Majesty, wishes and supports increased use of space technology in the development of his country, and has set a vision of his own. To fulfill his vision, India is fully prepared to share its experience and facilities,” he added.

He also expressed support for the establishment of an ICT-enabled knowledge-based society, and welcome BSNL’s agreement with Bhutan regarding the 3rd International Internet Gateway. PM Modi also applauded the patience and governance of Bhutanese citizens and government in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The first phase of the RuPay card was launched by both PMs during PM Modi’s visit to Bhutan in August 2019. (ANI)