State visit further enhances Bhutan-Bangladesh bilateral relations

His Majesty The King granted an audience to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina in Tashichhodzong on 18th April. Sheikh Hasina was on a 3-day visit to Bhutan, from 18th to 20th April. She was welcomed in a traditional chipdrel ceremony and presented a Guard of Honour at Tashichhodzong, prior to receiving the audience. His Majesty and Her Majesty also hosted a private dinner for Sheikh Hasina in Lingkhana on 19th April.

His Majesty graced the ceremony where Sheikh Hasina unveiled the foundation stone for the new Bangladesh Embassy. Bhutan gifted a plot of land measuring 1.5 acres to Bangladesh for construction of its Embassy at the diplomatic enclave at Hejo, Thimphu.

Her Majesty graced the inauguration of the International Conference on Autism and Neuro-developmental Disorders, along with the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Bhutan..

Sheikh Hasina was received at the airport by the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay.

There was delegation level talks between the two prime ministers on a host of issues and MoU on various issues were signed to further enhance the existing bilateral relations between Bhutan and Bangladesh during the three-day state visit.

A joint statement from the two governments said the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed that the relations between Bhutan and Bangladesh are based on friendly ties and reflective of their common aspiration for peace, collective prosperity and development of the region and beyond.

They also have shared how satisfied they are with the excellent state of bilateral relations and for the commitment to strengthen the relation between the two countries for the mutual benefit of both the countries.

Beside the commitment to further enhance the relation, the statement also said that, the two PM’s had cooperation in many areas including ICT, connectivity, health, agriculture, education, culture, water resources, hydro-power project and trade and commerce.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay thanked Sheikh Hasina for taking a number of measures, including opening of Land Customs Stations, namely Tamabil-Dawki, Nakuagaon-Dalu, Gobrakura and Koroitoli-Gasuapara.

He also thanked the PM on resolving duty exemption issues on Lime Stone Powder, Gypsum and Calcium Carbonate export to Bangladesh, which will further enhance bilateral trade with Bangladesh.

Bangladesh also offered to export more products such as ready-made garments, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, jute and allied products, leather goods, toiletries and agricultural produce.

Bhutan agreed to facilitate entry for these products to further promote trade and investments between the two countries.

The joint statement also states that the two PMs welcomed the signing of MoU on use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes between the Bhutan and Bangladesh, which will provide connectivity with Chittagong and Mongla ports.

The visit also welcomed the proposed Trilateral MoU between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India for Cooperation in the field of Hydroelectric Power on the principles of agreed regional framework and they expressed the hope that, the MoU could be signed at an occasion whereby all the leaders of three countries would meet next.

Furthermore, the two Prime Ministers recognized the importance of BBIN motor vehicle agreement and expressed their wish towards an early implementation of the Agreement.

The two countries also agreed to cooperate in tourism to maximize its potential and decided to encourage exchange of visits of representatives of the tourism industry.

“Sheikh Hasina commended the vision of His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan in instituting the Bhutan Health Trust Fund for the provision of free essential drugs and vaccines to the people of Bhutan. The Bangladesh side agreed to explore cooperation in support to the fund, which was appreciated by Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay”, states the joint statement.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay also commended Bangladesh’s advancement in the ICT sector and they concluded to explore cooperation in ICT, including sharing of Internet redundancy and establishment of data centers.

Lyonchhen also expressed his gratitude to the Government of Bangladesh for providing opportunities for the Bhutanese students to pursue higher education especially in the field of medicine.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh recalled with gratitude Bhutan’s invaluable support to Bangladesh’s Liberation War of 1971 and that Bhutan was the first country to recognize Bangladesh on 6 December 1971 during her visit.

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