His Majesty the King on Monday bestowed honours upon Indian dignitaries, democratic institutions and outstanding Bhutanese individuals.
His Majesty awarded the Druk Thuksey to Indian Ambassador Pavan K Varma and former Indian Ambassadors Salman Haidar (1980-83) and Ambassador Dalip Mehta (1995-98).
His Majesty said, “Our relations are special. It is a bond of mutual benefit and unique understanding, loyalty and trust. I am thankful to the Government and People of India for their steadfast support over the last five decades – a period of great importance in the growth of modern Bhutan. I pray that our relations will always grow stronger even as the world changes. The responsibility to nurture this friendship lies with the people, government and King.”
Ambassador Pavan K Varma said “We are very deeply honored and it is exceptionally gracious of His Majesty the King. The award will be a cherished heirloom for me and my family but more importantly it is a symbol of the strength and closeness of India- Bhutan relations. I consider myself truly honoured.”
According to observers the awards given to the Indian Ambassadors besides recognizing their genuine contributions also sends an important foreign policy signal from Bhutan to India that Indo-Bhutan ties are important despite any recent misunderstandings and confusion caused by statements from some key members of the elected government. The symbolic and important gesture by the King is expected to soothe jitters in the Indo-Bhutan ties caused by this confusion.
The National Order of Merit (Gold) was also awarded to Consul General of Bhutan in Kolkata Dasho Tshering Wangda and businessman Gyaltshen Dukpa for their personal commitment to the Indo-Bhutan friendship. A Druk Thuksey was awarded to PHPA managing director Rajinder Nath Khazanchi while a National Order of Merit was given to PHPA Director Finance V.K Chouvey for exemplary service to the power sector for more than a decade.
His Majesty highlighted the importance of the civil servants in nation building and attributed much of the success of the country’s endeavors to a large extent to the bureaucracy.
“The term of a King is limited by age and that of the elected government by tenure and people’s desire – but bureaucracy remains ever constant and dependable. Thus, in order to fulfill our national aspirations and to handover a stronger and better nation to our children, as King, I rely on our People and even more, on the bureaucracy. I am confident that you will continue to serve the nation with complete commitment and dedication,” His Majesty said, before the award ceremony.
A total of 112 senior teachers from across the country were among the first awardees of the day as His Majesty conferred the National Order of Merit (Gold) for their exemplary service in education. Fritz Maurer, a private citizen, also the founder of Swiss Farm in Bumthang was conferred the same.“One of the country’s fundamental goals is the provision of education to our children. In the six decades of development the greatest success lies in the education sector,” His Majesty stated.
Education secretary Aum Sangay Zam said everyone in the education sector is “thrilled” with the recognition. “Our teachers work very hard and everyone talks of the importance of education. This recognition from His Majesty himself is a source of great joy and will motivate all our teachers to work very hard,” the secretary added.
His Majesty also stressed on the roles of citizens and children as the most important players for the nation and the need of education for children. “This underlines the importance of our 10,000 teachers as they guide over 200,000 children every day and nurture them into knowledgeable youth with the right values and principles,” His Majesty said.
The Druk Thuksey as an institutional award were conferred to Royal Audit Authority, National Council and to members of the first parliament of Bhutan for their participation in the most historic transition to democracy, for laying the foundations and for the milestones achieved by each institution. The awards for the lower house MPs were received by the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa President, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley and the Peoples Democratic Party President, Tshering Tobgay.
NC chairperson Lyonpo Namgye Penjore said it was unexpected and was a great honour. He also expressed his “heartiest congratulations” to the two NC members who were awarded the red scarf on the same day. “They have the capability and it was well deserved,” he added.“I am really happy that His Majesty recognized the services rendered by the NC, it is a great motivation for the members who will be elected to office in 2013,” the Chairperson concluded.
For their life-time service as Changkaps to the throne under the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Goop Gado Tshering and Goop S. Wangchuk were also awarded the Druk Thuksey.
The award ceremony concluded with His Majesty conferring the red scarf to Director General of Hydropower and Power Systems, Dasho Yeshi Wangdi and PHPA joint managing director Dasho Phuntsho Norbu for their committed service and holding important responsibilities in the power sector.
“It’s a great honour that has been bestowed upon me by His Majesty the King and I also realize the responsibility that comes along with it. I only hope to serve my country and pray to live up to the expectations of His Majesty the King” said Dasho Yeshi Wangdi.
NC deputy chairperson Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga was awarded the Red Scarf “for his work as an accomplished modern historian and his hard work and commitment that raised him above his humble beginnings to becoming a deputy chair of the NC and being a sound role model for the youth.”
“For his quiet and dedicated service, exemplifying the importance of merging qualifications and skill with dedication and commitment,” eminent NC member Dasho Karma Y Raydi was also the recipient of red scarf from His Majesty.
His Majesty stated, “These red scarf awards are being granted, not for years of service rendered, but for dedicated and fruitful service they will offer to the People and Nation in the years to come. They are young, and that is the reason why I have placed my faith and trust in them for the future.”
“Of course I am very much honored. Such awards as His Majesty stressed is not bestowed just for past achievements but it’s like placing His Majesty’s trust in you to shoulder any responsibilities and achieve further even in the future. I will try to fulfill that,” Dasho Karma Y Raydi said.