Thimphu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the students in Bhutan have the power and potential to do extraordinary things, which will impact future generations, as he proposed extensive cooperation between the two countries in new areas such as space and digital payments.
Addressing the students of the Royal University of Bhutan here, Modi asked them to work hard and take the Himalayan nation to great heights. "The world today offers more opportunities than ever before. You have the power and potential to do extraordinary things, which will impact generations to come. Find your real calling and pursue it with full passion," he told the audience which included ministers, lawmakers and senior officials.
Noting that there are several challenges ahead, he said, "for every challenge, we have young minds to find innovative solutions to overcome them”.
"Let no limitation constrain you. I want to tell you all - there is no better time to be young than now," he told the students. "As Bhutan soars high in its endeavours, your 1.3 billion Indian friends will not just look on and cheer you with pride and happiness. They will partner you, share with you and learn from you," the prime minister said.
Pointing out that India is witnessing historic transformations in a wide range of sectors, Prime Minister Modi said India is keen to cooperate extensively in new frontiers, from schools to space, digital payments to disaster management.
"We inaugurated the Thimphu Ground Station of the South Asia Satellite and expanded our space cooperation. Through satellites, benefits of tele-medicine, distance education, resource mapping, weather forecast and even warning of natural disasters will reach even remote areas," he said.
Referring to India's space programmes and the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Prime Minister Modi said Bhutan is also on its way to having its own satellite.
"It is even a matter of great happiness that young Bhutanese scientists will travel to India to work on designing and launching Bhutan's own small satellite. I hope that someday soon, many of you will be scientists, engineers and innovators," he told the students.
Hailing the decades-old friendship of Bhutan and India, Modi said it is natural that the people of the two countries experience great attachment to each other.
"After all, we are close not just due to our geography. Our history, culture and spiritual traditions have created unique and deep bonds between our peoples and nations," he said.
Recalling a Facebook post of Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering in which he mentioned about Exam Warriors — a book written by Modi to advise youngsters about how to face exams without stress, the prime minister said that post touched his heart.
"Can I tell you something? Much of what I wrote in Exam Warriors is influenced by the teachings of Lord Buddha, especially the importance of positivity, overcoming fear and living in oneness, be it with the present moment or with Mother Nature," Modi said.
He also said that in the 20th century, many Indians came to Bhutan as teachers. "Most Bhutanese citizens of older generations would have had at least one India teacher during their education," he said.
Stating that Bhutan has understood the essence of happiness, Modi said, "Happiness which springs from harmony. The world can do with a lot more happiness. Happiness, which shall prevail over mindless hate. If people are happy, there will be harmony. Where there is harmony, there will be peace."
Soon after his speech, Modi paid his respects at the National Memorial Chorten, a revered monument honouring the late Third Druk Gyalpo.
"A heartfelt tribute. PM @narendramodi pays his respects at the National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, a revered monument honoring the late Third Druk Gyalpo," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. Modi is here on his second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election in May this year.