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Bhutanese King’s visit a testament of close ties

Published : 25 Mar 2024 10:08 PM

Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will attend the celebration of Independence and National Day of Bangladesh on March 26 as the special guest.

He will pay tribute to the memory of the sacrifices of the heroic freedom fighters of Bangladesh at the National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar, which will include the laying of a wreath, signing the visitors’ book and planting of a sapling.

Queen of Bhutan Jetsun Pema Wangchuck will also attend accompanying the King. The King of 

Bhutan is paying a state visit to Bangladesh from March 25 to 28 at the invitation of President Mohammed Shahabuddin.

The visit of the King to Bangladesh is a testament of the close ties of friendship and goodwill that so happily exist between the two countries, said a joint statement issued on Monday.

The state visit of the King and Queen to Bangladesh has further strengthened the traditional ties of friendship, cooperation and goodwill between the two countries, it said.

The King and Queen will meet with the President of Bangladesh. The President will host a banquet on Tuesday in honour of the King.

The King and Queen met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday.

The following Memoranda of Understanding (MoMs) were signed during the visit- MoU between Bangladesh and Bhutan for Cooperation on establishment of a Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit in Thimphu and Health Cooperation; MoU between Bangladesh and Bhutan for Cooperation on establishing Bhutanese Special Economic Zone in Kurigram, Bangladesh by Bhutan and MoU between Directorate of National Consumers Right Protection of Bangladesh and the Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority of Bhutan.

The agreement between Bangladesh and Bhutan onocultural cooperation was renewed.

Both sides expressed satisfaction that annual intake of Bhutanese students for admission in MBBS in public medical colleges of Bangladesh has been increasing gradually.

To further consolidate the existing momentum of cooperation, Bangladesh offered to increase the number of annual MBBS seats for Bhutanese students from 22 (twenty-two) to 30 (thirty).

During the official meeting, the two sides expressed happiness on the current state of relation between Bangladesh and Bhutan, which is a very special one based on common history, geographical proximity, and the shared aspiration of the people for prosperity and development.

King Jigme expressed his deep appreciation for the cordial welcome and warm hospitality extended to Him and the members of His delegation during their stay in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh recalled with gratitude the invaluable support of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the Third King of Bhutan and the people of Bhutan during Bangladesh’s War of Independence.

Prime Minister fondly recalled Bhutan being the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country on 6th December 1971.

Both sides expressed happiness that Bangladesh and Bhutan signed the Agreement on the Movement of Traffic-in-Transit and its Protocol in March 2023 which will usher in new horizons for bilateral trade and connectivity.

The Agreement and its Protocol will not only be phenomenal for bilateral trade but also will work as a platform for paving the way for an interconnected South Asia, said the joint statement.

Both sides noted that regional and sub-regional connectivity are important means of economic integration and enhancing trade and commerce.

They noted with satisfaction that the collaborative efforts between the two sides in connectivity through roads, rail, and waterways will strengthen bilateral ties as well as foster regional integration and economic growth in South Asia.

A New Horizon

Bhutan conveyed its appreciation to Bangladesh for offering the ‘Special Economic Zone’ in ‘Kurigram’ in the northern part of Bangladesh, which is 190 kms from the southern city of Gelephu, Bhutan.

The economic zone will add a new horizon in the area of bilateral trade and investment between the two countries and also for achieving greater prosperity in the South Asia region.

Both sides underscored the importance of strengthening subregional cooperation in the energy sector among Bhutan, Bangladesh and India.

Both sides acknowledged that regional cooperation is very important for shared peace and prosperity in the region.

The King will visit Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn & Plastic Surgery in Dhaka on March 26 and interact with the officials, doctors and students there.

Bangladesh is going to establish a burn and plastic surgery unit in Thimphu which will be another milestone in the bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Bhutan in the health sector.

Both sides expressed satisfaction that there has been exemplary people-to-people contact between Bangladesh and Bhutan for decades.

They reiterated to further strengthen the peopleto-people contact between Bangladesh and Bhutan by connecting the Himalayas in Bhutan with the longest sea beach in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The King Jigme will visit the Padma Bridge, a monumental infrastructural feat constructed entirely through the self-financing efforts of the Bangladesh government.

This remarkable infrastructure project stands as a testament to Bangladesh's commitment to advancing connectivity and fostering economic growth.

King Jigme will also visit a Special Economic Zone in Araihazar to witness firsthand the infrastructure and facilities there.

While in Dhaka, the King will also meet and interact with the Bangladesh business leaders and potential investors to explore new avenues for economic and commercial ties between the two countries.

The King of Bhutan extended invitations to the President and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to visit Bhutan.