The late Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, was bestowed the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour on March 27, 2012, 40 years after his untimely demise, by the government of Bangladesh for his contribution during Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
The people of Bangladesh struggled a brutal occupation by Pakistan right after the elections that happened in 1970 when the then West Pakistan government deployed thousands of troops to crush down the Bangladeshi opposition who actually won the elections but were denied power. After this gruesome struggle, the Bangla country became independent but its state hood was recognized by the third king around the first week of December 1971 during which time Bangladesh was still in the process of struggling for independence; it achieved complete victory over the Pakistani occupation only on Dec 16, 1971.”Because of this specific reason we value the third King’s recognition very much,” the Counselor at the Bangladeshi embassy said while adding, “for statehood, this sort of recognition is tremendously important”.
During the struggle, due to intense military struggle with the Pakistanis, thousands of Bangla refugees escaped to India where many Bhutanese were present at the camps to aid the injured and the sick. Even though Bhutan could not provide the struggling population military aid, the moral support which the country extended had enormous impact on the cause the Bangla people. The Bangla resistance was led by Sheik Mujibur Rahman who is the father of the present prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.
Owing to all all this, the third Druk Gyalpo was placed at the top of the list of three people who were honored with the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour (BLWH); this honour is being bestowed to individuals who made the most vital contributions during the independence struggle while 73 other individuals or institutions were awarded the Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Honour which comes second after BLWH. The award comprised a certificate and a replica of the national mausoleum which is a monument built in honor of the people who participated in the independence war in the then East Pakistan (Bangladesh). The awards ceremony was held at the Bangabandhu international conference center in Dhaka. On behalf of the late Druk Gyalpo, the chairman of the Royal Privy Council and a former minister, Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji received the award. Right after the ceremony, the Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina expressed that, “this is a token recognition of our respect for your show of unity with a nation that was fighting for rights, respect and dignity”.
Although Bhutan recognized Bangladesh as a separate state in 1971, the two countries established diplomatic relations only in 1973. In 1980, a Bangladeshi embassy was in Bhutan.