USA congratulates Bhutan on National Day

The United States of America’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, sent his congratulations on behalf of President Barack Obama to Bhutan for its 108th National Day celebrations.

The public statement, which is the first of its kind from this level, was sent as a press release to media houses in Thimphu from the State Department in Washington D.C.

In his statement Secretary Kerry said, “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend my best wishes and congratulations to the people of Bhutan as you celebrate the 108th anniversary of your National Day on December 17.”

He said the United States attaches great importance to the warm ties between the peoples the two countries and to the shared commitment to address climate change and other global challenges.

“Bhutan’s commitment to protecting its natural environment is a gift to future generations that we acknowledge with deep gratitude,” said Kerry.

Bhutan had made the strongest pledges among all nations at the recently concluded COP 21 Paris Climate Conference, by pledging to stay carbon negative and maintain its forest cover.

Secretary Kerry said that USA also appreciates Bhutan’s critical contributions to UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

He said that as societies with a shared commitment to democracy and the rule of law, the United States and Bhutan are supporting institutions and values that have brought peace and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

The Secretary said that he looked forward to opportunities in the New Year to deepen the cooperation between the two countries.

He wished the people of Bhutan a joyful celebration of their national day and a prosperous year ahead.

This greeting by the US Secretary of State comes in the backdrop of USA’s attempts to strengthen its ties with Bhutan. Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay met with Secretary John Kerry on the sidelines of the vibrant Gujarat summit in January 2015.

Even though both the countries do not share diplomatic ties there have been occasional visits by mainly senior officials and Ambassadors from the State Department over the years.

The USA, since a long time has expressed interest in diplomatic ties with Bhutan but the official stand of Bhutan has been to say that it has not cultivated any formal diplomatic ties with the permanent five members of the Security Council which apart from USA includes China, United Kingdom, France and Russia. Even without formal diplomatic ties Bhutan has enjoyed a friendly and civil relationship with the USA.

The USA has not shown an isolated interest only in Bhutan, but in the whole region as part of its ‘Pivot to Asia’ strategy which consists of engaging with big and small Asian countries given the rising economic and strategic importance of the region.

For Bhutan the three most key and ‘sensitive’ countries are India, China and the USA. India because it is Bhutan’s closet ally and biggest developmental partner, China due to it being Bhutan’s giant and powerful northern neighbor with ongoing boundary talks and the USA which is the sole global superpower.

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