Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the 720 mega watt (MW) Mangdechhu hydropower project when he visits Bhutan on 17-18 August to underline the NDA government’s emphasis on India’s “neighbourhood first” policy, as well as the country’s special relationship with the strategically located Himalayan nation.

As part of India’s economic diplomacy efforts to exert strategic influence in its neighbourhood with infrastructure developments, India is helping Bhutan build 10,000 megawatts (MW) of hydropower with concessional finance, with the overall investment expected to be about $10 billion.

State run NHPC Ltd, India’s largest hydropower firm was the design and engineering consultant for the strategically important Mangdechhu project that was fully commissioned on 15 July. The run-of-the river project is located on river Mangdechhu in Trongsa Dzongkhag district in Central Bhutan. The bilateral agreement to build the project was signed between India and Bhutan on 30 April 2010.

This will be Modi’s first trip to Bhutan since the China-India military face-off in 2017, triggered by an intrusion by Chinese troops into territory claimed by Bhutan.