His Majesty the King in on Friday evening attended a banquet hosted in His Majesty’s honour by the President where His Majesty delivered a speech.
His Majesty’s speech as reproduced verbatim said the following. “Your Excellency, President of India,Your Excellency, Prime Minister,Respected Dignitaries. It is with immense joy that I stand here today among great friends in a nation that we all love – and with pride and honor, that I represent Bhutan at the Republic Day of India. On this most auspicious occasion, I bring with me the good wishes and prayers of my father, the Government and People of Bhutan.
Your Excellencies, Bhutan has been on an extraordinary journey. For one hundred years of monarchy we nurtured the dream of democracy. And today, after such sacrifice and dedication – upon the culmination of so many achievements, I am proud to be King of a young, democratic Bhutan that is on the cusp of even greater success and accomplishment. Your Excellencies, this journey of modern Bhutan was not travelled alone. From the moment of immense joy that was India’s Independence Day of 1947, it has been a journey travelled by India and Bhutan, together.
Bhutan’s success is founded upon the sound socio-economic development over the last six decades, for which India’s steadfast support has been invaluable. The confidence and stature we enjoy as a unique nation today were born from the hard work of generations of Bhutanese, complemented by the extraordinary friendship we have with India. India will always hold a special place in our hearts.
My grandfather said, “The destiny of Bhutan is intimately bound with that of India and it is in our mutual interests to further the bonds of friendship and understanding.” And, many decades later, in a modernizing Bhutan, my father declared, “India is the cornerstone of our foreign policy”. To these profound assertions of intimate bonds I would like to state, “Indo-Bhutan Friendship is indispensible for the future success of Bhutan.”
Today, as we look ahead, we see a long journey – not without its challenges – but nevertheless, a journey whose road will be paved with geopolitical and historical foundations; borne on the spirit of trust, interdependence and constancy, but above all, a journey defined by India and Bhutan, together.
India is truly a great nation. As a historian and philosopher once said, “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”
Your Excellencies – India is the reservoir of the world’s greatest religions; the cradle of great thinkers and leaders; the home of almost 20% of humanity; the guardian of more than half a billion citizens under 20 and the fertile ground for great young talent and discovery – all flourishing under the world’s largest democracy. Your Excellencies, Bhutan is proud to be your neighbour and closest friend.
I thank you, Your Excellency, for the great honor to my People and Nation, of being invited to the 64th Republic Day. In this moment of great happiness – I offer to you my deepest, most profound affection and goodwill. My bond with India is for life – for it arises from two loves – my love for India and, my love for Bhutan and my People.
It is, therefore, with immense joy that Jetsun and I, raise a toast on this momentous occasion – to the good health and happiness of Your Excellency the President of India; to the steadfast loyalty, trust and faith that define Indo-Bhutan Friendship and to the great nation of India! Tashi Delek! And Jai Hind!”
His Majesty the King accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen is on a seven day state visit to India from 23 January to 30 January, 2013.
His Majesty the King is the Chief Guest for India’s 64th Republic Day celebrations on 26th January, 2013.
His Majesty on 25th January met with the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and held talks with him. The Indian Prime Minister also hosted a private lunch for Their Majesties.
Just prior to His Majesty’s meeting with the Indian PM, His Majesty also met and had talks with the Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid.
In a press release on the MEA website Salman Khurshid describing his meeting with His Majesty said, “We have an ongoing very good visit of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. I have just had a very fruitful meeting with him.”
He said that the Indo-Bhutan relationship was a very important one. Talking about Bhutan’s Eleventh plan he said, “We are in the process of working with them on their Eleventh Plan and consultations are on.”
Talking about hydropower cooperation the Indian Foreign Minister said “We are working closely on power plants in Bhutan that will supply power to our country and indeed are very fast becoming the mainstay of their economy other than tourism. “
His Majesty the King started the day with a ceremonial reception in the morning at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidents Official Residence) where a contingent of the Presidential Bodyguards presented a guard of honour. His Majesty was introduced to the Prime Minister and other cabinet Ministers by the President Pranabh Mukherjee.
His Majesty and Her Majesty then visited Rajghat or Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial.
His Majesty during the day was called on by the Congress President and UPA Chairperson , Sonia Gandhi, and Vice-President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi. Other Indian leaders like Vice President Mohammad H. Ansari, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj also called on His Majesty.
With this invitation Bhutan will also have the unique distinction of being invited four times for the Republic Day. The previous Republic Day visit as a Chief Guest was made by His Majesty the Fourth King in 2005. Prior to that His Majesty the Fourth King was invited in 1984 when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. During the era of Jawaharlal Nehru His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo was invited as a Chief Guest in 1950.