MEA discusses restoring supply of subsidised gas to Bhutan

Ministry of External Affairs has initiated the process of assessing the financial and logistical implications to ensure a quick decision on restoring supply of subsidised gas to Bhutan. A meeting, chaired by foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai and attended by senior oil ministry and MEA officials, discussed various aspects to reinstate the subsidised gas and kerosene supply, official sources said here. The subsidy cut, just before the elections, had come against the backdrop of apparent unhappiness over the meeting between Bhutan PM Jigme Thinley and a top Chinese leader last year. He had a meeting with the then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Rio and also imported some 20 buses from China, a development which had taken India by surprise. Sources said the meeting on Friday was aimed at exploring the option to quickly restore the supply even if it was on interim basis. However, an exhaustive reinstatement plan has to be cleared by the Union cabinet. Meanwhile, Bhutan’s Prime Minister-elect Tshering Tobgay, in an interview to PTI, asked for urgent reinstatement of the subsidised supply gas and said, “Even though my party is yet to form government, I have had very reassuring discussions with the Indian Ambassador in Thimphu on this subject”.

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