Na­tional Coun­cil del­e­ga­tion vis­its Bangladesh

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Reporter

The Chair­per­son of Na­tional Coun­cil ( Dr) Dasho Sonam Kinga led a par­lia­men­tary del­e­ga­tion to Bangladesh re­cently con­sist­ing of mem­bers from both houses at the in­vi­ta­tion of Speaker H.E. Shirin Sharmin Chowd­hury. Dur­ing the visit, the del­e­ga­tion called on the Pres­i­dent, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the For­eign Min­is­ter of Bangladesh. It held meet­ings with the Stand­ing Com­mit­tees on Law, Jus­tice and Par­lia­men­tary Affairs and on En­vi­ron­ment and Forests as well as with the Depart­ment of Disas­ter Man­age­ment.

At ev­ery meet­ing, the Bangladesh lead­ers and peo­ple ex­pressed whole­hearted grat­i­tude and ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Bhutan for be­ing the first coun­try in the world to rec­og­nize the in­de­pen­dence of Bangladesh in 1971. The del­e­ga­tion pre­sented to the Lib­er­a­tion War Mu­seum, a copy of the mes­sage sent by the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to the Act­ing Pres­i­dent Syed Nazrul Is­lam of the then Pro­vi­sional Govern­ment that for­mally con­veyed Bhutan’s recog­ni­tion of Bangladesh.

The lead­ers of Bangladesh also ex­pressed their op­ti­mism that the BBIN Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Agree­ment would be rat­i­fied by the Par­lia­ment of Bhutan. This Agree­ment could not be passed in the last ses­sion of Na­tional As­sem­bly. The Bhutanese del­e­ga­tion con­veyed that the Bhutanese par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and

peo­ple needed time to re­flect and de­bate on the agree­ment. Thrizin Sonam Kinga shared that it ap­pears likely that the Royal Govern­ment may re-ta­ble the Agree­ment in the sum­mer ses­sion of Na­tional As­sem­bly.

Both sides re­called how the close and ex­cel­lent re­la­tion­ship be­tween two coun­tries have strength­ened over the decades nur­tured through high­level vis­its by Bangladesh Pres­i­dents to Bhutan and vis­its by Druk Gyal­pos to Bangladesh. H.E. Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina vis­ited Bhutan in 2009 and 2010 which were fol­lowed by His Majesty The King’s visit to Bangladesh in 2011 and 2013.

The del­e­ga­tion vis­ited the Dhar­mara­jika Bud­dhist Monastery in Dhaka where a huge pagoda is be­ing built to en­shrine the re­mains of Bud­dhist mas­ter Atisha Dim­pankar. His Majesty the King had laid the foun­da­tion for the con­struc­tion of the pagoda and also granted royal sup­port for the cast­ing of a huge im­age of Atisha Dipankar. The del­e­ga­tion also vis­ited Va­jra Yogini (Dorji Neljorma) vil­lage in the out­skirts of Dhaka, where Atisha Dipankar was born around 980 A.D. He is greatly ven­er­ated in the Bud­dhist world for be­ing in­stru­men­tal in what is known as the se­cond trans­mis­sion of Bud­dhism.

Bud­dhism had pro­vided the ini­tial frame­work of con­tact be­tween the two coun­tries. Ma­hasid­dha Tilopa known as Pra­jn­ab­hadra was born in Chit­tagong. Al­though he never vis­ited Bhutan, his teach­ings trans­mit­ted through his fore­most pupil Naropa and then through Marpa and Mi­larepa con­sti­tute the

cen­tral faith and prac­tice of Drukpa Kagyu School. An­other em­i­nent Bud­dhist mas­ter, Drubthob Ngagi Rinchen known as Vana Ratna vis­ited Bhutan in the 14th cen­tury. He spent some time in Pu­nakha and built the Dzongchung as well as the fa­mous Bud­dha im­age en­shrined in it in 1328.

To­day trade con­sti­tutes a very im­por­tant area of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Bangladesh and Bhutan. This trade re­la­tion­ship goes back to the 17th and 18th cen­turies when car­a­vans of Bhutanese mer­chants ven­tured as far as Rang­pur ex­port­ing horses, veg­etable dyes, musks etc, and im­port­ing indigo, oil, dry fish and broad cloth.

The Bhutanese del­e­ga­tion ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the govern­ment and peo­ple of Bangladesh for pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to Bhutanese stu­dents to pur­sue higher education par­tic­u­larly in med­i­cal stud­ies. Dur­ing meet­ings with par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees, the del­e­ga­tion dis­cussed best prac­tices of com­mit­tee and par­lia­men­tary sys­tem. Ex­change of par­lia­men­tary vis­its be­tween the two coun­tries is ex­pected to boost peo­ple to peo­ple con­tact and deepen the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship.

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