Bhutan and Bangladesh commits to further strengthen their bilateral relations and economic ties
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering and his delegation returned to the country on 25March after a two-day official visit to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Before departing from Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, Prime Minister had a quiet meeting with the professor who taught him while pursuing medical studies and the surgeon who operated on him while in Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh AK Abdul Momen saw off the Prime Minister and the delegation at the airport.
On the evening of 24 March, Lyonchhen interacted with the students and Bhutanese community in Dhaka. They were also updated on the COVID-19 status and other developments in the country.
Prime Minister was in Bangladesh as the special emissary of His Majesty The King.
While in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister took part in the celebrations of the centennial birth anniversary of founding leader, Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the independence of the country.
Conveying warm greetings and prayers of His Majesty The King and the people of Bhutan, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering during the event held at National Parade Ground in Dhaka on 23 March evening said it was always a delight to return to Bangladesh, but the reason this time was even more compelling.
“I have come here to listen to the story of Bangladesh, that too seated next to Her Excellency Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, an inspiring leader and a mother-like figure to me,” he said.
Lyonchhen said such significant occasions uplift the spirit of not just the people of Bangladesh but the entire region at a time when COVID-19 pandemic has claimed many precious lives and disrupted livelihoods of millions around the world.
He also applauded Bangladesh’s efforts to manage the pandemic, despite sheer size of the population.
“While we have many bilateral engagements, the purpose of my visit this time is solely to pay tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his heroic legacies that laid strong foundations for a peaceful, progressive, and prosperous Bangladesh,” he said.
With a few reiterations in Bengali, Lyonchhen thank Bangladesh for giving him and the people of Bhutan an opportunity to be a part of the journey.
Meanwhile, Lyonchhen presented the commemorative stamp to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. As a tribute from Bhutan, a team from Royal Academy of Performing Arts also made colourful cultural performance at the venue.
During the official discussions between the two Prime Ministers, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recalled with gratitude the invaluable support of His Majesty The 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and the people of Bhutan towards Bangladesh’s fight for independence.
The two Prime Ministers expressed happiness that both Bhutan and Bangladesh are well on track to graduate from the club of least developed countries in 2023 and 2024 respectively despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Lotay Tshering thanked the Government of Bangladesh for its support toward the establishment of the third international internet gateway and Bhutan’s proposal to purchase bandwidth from Bangladesh, which will ensure the reliability of internet and communications for Bhutan.
As a special gesture of goodwill and friendship, and as part of the celebrations of 50 years of Bhutan’s recognition of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to provide Bhutan internet bandwidth at a friendly rate.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh viewed that regional connectivity is one of the most important means of trade and that Bangladesh’s unique geographical location in the region provides an opportunity for all countries in the region to be connected by road. She reiterated the offer to Bhutan for full access to Bangladesh’s seaports.
Bangladesh also agreed to increase the number of annual MBBS quota seats for Bhutanese students from 15 to 20. It has also been decided that Bangladesh will issue multiple entry visa to Bhutanese students for full duration of their study subject to the validity of their passports.
The Prime Minister and his delegation are undergoing 21-day mandatory facility quarantine right now.