The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wazed will be on a three day state visit to Bhutan from 18th to 20th April on the invitation by His Majesty the King. The visit is expected to further strengthen the existing goodwill and friendship ties between the two countries.
Speaking during the 30th Meet the Press session yesterday, Foreign Minister Lyonpo Damchoe Dorji said that Bhutan and Bangladesh have enjoyed closed ties since 1971. “Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognize the newly independent state of Bangladesh in 1971,” said Lyonpo Damchoe Dorji. “After establishing cordial diplomatic relations, a Resident Embassy was established in Bhutan in1973 and in 1974 His Majesty The Fourth King visited Bangladesh and since then we had series of exchange of visiting leaders between the two countries.”
His Majesty The King visited Bangladesh two times after His Majesty’s coronation; once in 2011 and then in 2013 along with Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen. The Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay also visited Bangladesh in 2014 where various issues of mutual interest were discussed between the two countries and the government of Bangladesh also offered a plot of land for the construction of a permanent Bhutanese embassy in Dhaka. A Memorandum of Understanding for the renewed trade agreement and the land were signed and the existing bilateral trade agreements were also renewed during the visit.
After Sheik Hasina became Prime Minister of Bangladesh for the second time, Her Excellency made three visits to Bhutan in 2009, 2010 and 2015.
“Such visits from Bangladesh are of very high importance because it signifies the close ties between the two countries and its people. Thus, we attach a lot of importance in the upcoming state visit by Her Excellency the Prime Minister of Bangladesh,” said Lyonpo Damchoe Dorji.
At the bilateral level, there is a lot of bilateral cooperation with Bangladesh starting with the annual bilateral consultation meeting to bilateral cooperation in Agriculture and Human Resource Development and frequent cultural exchange programs and the air service agreements that the two countries share.
At the regional and trilateral level, the two countries had talks about water resource source management and very recently on the cooperation in hydropower projects. Specifically Bangladesh, Bhutan and India have come up with a Memorandum of Understanding for Bangladesh to invest in the 1,125 MW Dorjilung project and then transport the power through India to Bangladesh. This was also mentioned in the joint statement by the Bangladesh PM and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her recent state visit to India.
At the multilateral forum, the two countries have been supporting each other in many areas.
Tourism officials from Bangladesh are also expected to be part of the Prime Minister’s delegation. Tourists from Bangladesh have seen a steady rise over the years which can be attributed to the cordial ties the two countries share.
“This state visit is very important. Last year the President of Bangladesh visited Bhutan, which is indicative of the close ties between the two countries. So the state visit by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will further strengthen the ties between the two countries,” said Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay.
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said that while Her Excellency is in the country, they are going to sign several Memorandum of Understanding, present land to the government of Bangladesh to build their embassy here in the capital, and Her Excellency will also grace and chair much of the proceedings of the important workshop on Autism and Neurological disorders.
Preparations are in full swing in the capital for the PM’s three-day state visit with redecoration and repainting works being carried out by the Thromde. The flowers gardens and trees around the city are being nursed and Thromde officials are all said to be very engaged in various other beautification activities.