Bhutan the first coun­try to rec­og­nize Bangladesh as in­de­pen­dent na­tion

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - An­jana Subba

At the invitation of H.E. Sheikh Hasina Prime Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh, H.E. Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay, paid an of­fi­cial visit to Bangladesh from 06-08 De­cem­ber 2014. Ly­onch­hen was ac­com­pa­nied by H.E. Mr. Rinzin Dorje, Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs, H.E. Mr. Norbu Wangchuk, Min­is­ter of Eco­nomic Af­fairs and other se­nior of­fi­cials. There was also a high level business del­e­ga­tion from Bhutan.

Dur­ing the visit, the Ly­onch­hen paid a cour­tesy call on H.E. Mr. Md. Ab­dul Hamid, Pres­i­dent of Bangladesh.

Ly­onch­hen laid a wreath at the Na­tional Martyrs’ Memo­rial at Savar as a mark of re­spect to the mem­ory and con­tri­bu­tion of the valiant free­dom fight­ers of Bangladesh. He also paid trib­ute and re­spect to the mem­ory of Banga­bandhu Sheikh Mu­jibur Rah­man at the Banga­bandhu Memo­rial Mu­seum.

The of­fi­cial talks be­tween Bangladesh and Bhutan were held on 06 De­cem­ber 2014 in an at­mos­phere of great warmth and cor­dial­ity re­flect­ing the ex­cel­lent bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and age-old friend­ship be­tween the two coun­tries. The two Prime Min­is­ters led their re­spec­tive sides. Prime Min­is­ter of Bangladesh hosted a ban­quet in hon­our of the Ly­onch­hen and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing del­e­ga­tion.

H.E. Mr. Abul Has­san Mah­mood Ali, MP, For­eign Min­is­ter; H.E. Mr. Abul Maal Ab­dul Muhith, MP, Fi­nance Min­is­ter; H.E. Mr. To­fail Ahmed, MP, Com­merce Min­is­ter; H.E. Mrs. Raushan Er­shad, MP, Leader of the Op­po­si­tion; H.E. Prof. Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Ad­viser on In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs to the Prime Min­is­ter; and some other dig­ni­taries paid cour­tesy calls on the Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan.

Dur­ing the of­fi­cial talks, the Prime Min­is­ter of Bangladesh re­called with grat­i­tude Bhutan’s in­valu­able sup­port­ing role to the War of Lib­er­a­tion of Bangladesh. She also re­called that Bhutan was the first coun­try to rec­og­nize Bangladesh on 6 De­cem­ber 1971. The Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter handed over to the Bangladesh Prime Min­is­ter a text of the wire­less mes­sage that was sent on 06 De­cem­ber 1971 by the Third King of Bhutan to the then Act­ing Pres­i­dent of Bangladesh con­vey­ing recog­ni­tion of Bangladesh by Bhutan as a sov­er­eign in­de­pen­dent coun­try.

The two Prime Min­is­ters agreed that this visit by the Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan gave the two sides an op­por­tu­nity to take stock of the progress in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions as also to in­fuse fur­ther im­pe­tus to­wards deep­en­ing and strength­en­ing the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

The two sides ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion at the ex­cel­lent Bangladesh-Bhutan re­la­tions which have par­tic­u­larly blos­somed over the past six years. They dis­cussed ways and means to fur­ther in­ten­sify their mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing in­ter alia, in hy­dropower, wa­ter re­sources man­age­ment, trade and com­merce, con­nec­tiv­ity, cli­mate change, tourism, cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, agri­cul­ture, health and hu­man re­sources de­vel­op­ment. They noted with sat­is­fac­tion the in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of reg­u­lar meet­ings at the For­eign Sec­re­tary and Com­merce Sec­re­tary lev­els, which pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther pro­mote the friendly bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

The Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan re­called the in­spir­ing lead­er­ship of the Fa­ther of the Na­tion Banga­bandhu Sheikh Mu­jibur Rah­man. He lauded Bangladesh’s tremen­dous so­cio-eco­nomic ad­vance­ments dur­ing the ten­ure of Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina. The Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter also ex­pressed his ad­mi­ra­tion for the able lead­er­ship of Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina in forg­ing dy­namism into the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries and among the coun­tries of the re­gion as also for her con­tri­bu­tion to­wards ad­vance­ment of global peace.

Re­fer­ring to the huge hy­dro-power po­ten­tial of Bhutan, Bangladesh Prime Min­is­ter re­it­er­ated in­ter­est to ob­tain hy­dro-power from Bhutan to Bangladesh and re­quested for Bangladesh’s part­ner­ship in Bhutan’s fu­ture power projects. The Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter agreed to work to­gether with Bangladesh in this sec­tor.

Rec­og­niz­ing the ut­most im­por­tance of en­hanc­ing re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity, both sides agreed to jointly work to­wards that end both bi­lat­er­ally and sub­re­gion­ally.

The Bangladesh side agreed to con­sider Bhutan’s re­quest for shar­ing in­ter­net re­dun­dancy. Both sides agreed to work to­gether to en­hance col­lab­o­ra­tion in Wa­ter Re­sources Man­age­ment and Power/ Hy­dro-power and Con­nec­tiv­ity in the sub-re­gional con­text.

Em­pha­siz­ing the need for en­hanc­ing trade rela- tions for mu­tual ben­e­fit and rec­og­niz­ing the huge po­ten­tial it holds in bring­ing pros­per­ity, the two sides agreed to di­ver­sify bi­lat­eral trade and take fur­ther trade fa­cil­i­ta­tions mea­sures for deeper mar­ket ac­cess. Bangladesh side of­fered to ex­port more prod­ucts such as ready­made gar­ments, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, ceram­ics, jute and jute goods, agri­cul­tural pro­duce to Bhutan. Bhutanese side agreed to look into it.

Rec­og­niz­ing Bangladesh’s lead role in de­vel­op­ing global aware­ness and in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship on Autism and other neuro-de­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders, the two sides agreed to work to­gether to con­trib­ute to the process re­gion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. Both sides also agreed to ac­tively en­gage in the work of the South­east Asian Autism Net­work (SAAN) and the for­mu­la­tion of a mul­ti­fac­eted Global Ac­tion Plan on Autism. The Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter ap­pre­ci­ated the per­sonal com­mit­ment and lead­er­ship of the Bangladesh Prime Min­is­ter and Ms. Saima Hos­sain, Mem­ber of WHO’s Ex­pert Ad­vi­sory Panel on Men­tal Health in pro­mot­ing the rights and well-be­ing of per­sons af­fected by Autism.

Both sides put em­pha­sis on hav­ing a Cul­tural Ex­change Pro­gramme to fur­ther strengthen the common and unique cul­tural link­ages that date back to his­tory. Rec­og­niz­ing the huge po­ten­tial of tourism, the two sides agreed to fur­ther in­crease co­op­er­a­tion in this sec­tor.

To en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in agri­cul­ture, the two sides stressed on early com­mence­ment of work by the Joint Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee formed in this re­gard.

It was also agreed to en­hance col­lab­o­ra­tion in other sec­tors namely, ed­u­ca­tion, health and hu­man re­sources de­vel­op­ment.

Re­fer­ring to the 18th SAARC Sum­mit, the two lead­ers ex­changed views on var­i­ous is­sues un­der SAARC and reiter- ated their com­mit­ment to strengthen the SAARC process.

The two sides also ex­changed views on co­op­er­a­tion in other re­gional and in­ter­na­tional fora in­clud­ing UN and BIM­STEC and noted the com­mon­al­ity of their views and po­si­tions on all ma­jor is­sues and agreed to con­tinue to work to­gether for mu­tual ben­e­fit.

Ex­press­ing con­cern about the ad­verse im­pacts of cli­mate change on the two coun­tries, both the sides put em­pha­sis on se­cur­ing cli­mate jus­tice and eq­uity based on the prin­ci­ples of UNFCCC; bal­anced al­lo­ca­tion be­tween adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion; clear pro­vi­sion of new, ad­e­quate and pre­dictable fi­nanc­ing; and en­hanced tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment and trans­fer.

As a to­ken of friend­ship, the Gov­ern­ment of Bangladesh pro­vided a piece of land for the Royal Bhutanese Em­bassy at Barid­hara in Dhaka, as a gift to Bhutan and its peo­ple.

Fol­low­ing the of­fi­cial talks, two agree­ments were signed be­tween Bangladesh and Bhutan on 06 De­cem­ber 2014: The bi­lat­eral Trade Agree­ment and its Pro­to­col (re­newed for ten years) and the agree­ment on al­lot­ment of land to Bhutan for con­struc­tion of its Em­bassy Premises at Barid­hara diplo­matic en­clave in Dhaka;

Dur­ing his stay, the Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan vis­ited a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal company and the Na­tional Mu­seum. The Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan ex­pressed his deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the cor­dial wel­come and warm hos­pi­tal­ity ex­tended to him and the mem­bers of his del­e­ga­tion dur­ing his stay in Bangladesh. The Bhutanese Prime Min­is­ter, on be­half of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and on his own be­half, ex­tended in­vi­ta­tions to the Hon’ble Pres­i­dent and Hon’ble Prime Min­is­ter of Bangladesh to visit Bhutan. The in­vi­ta­tions were ac­cepted and it was agreed that the dates of the vis­its would be finalized in due course.

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