Relations between Bhutan and Bangladesh are at an all time high following the state visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina.
The two countries have always maintained cordial relations ever since Bangladesh gained its independence. The foundation of this strong relationship was laid by His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and the founding leader of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, when Bhutan became the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent nation on December 6, 1971.
Bhutan’s friendship towards Bangladesh was in full display during the state visit. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received audiences with His Majesty The King and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina graced the inauguration of the international conference on autism.
Bhutan gifted a 1.5 acre plot to Bangladesh to construct its embassy in Thimphu.
The prime ministers of both countries reaffirmed their intention to further consolidate relations for the mutual benefit of the two states.
MoUs and agreements were signed that will enhance trade and investments between the two countries which should only lead to more linkages and strengthened relations. Undoubtedly, many traders will welcome the MoU that opens up Bangladesh’s waterways to Bhutan providing direct access to the Chittagong and Mongla sea ports.
The visit also revealed that there is also a possibility that the Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India for cooperation in the field of hydroelectric power could be signed when the leaders of all three countries meet next.
The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal motor vehicle agreement if endorsed by the joint session of Parliament could see trade and interaction between the two countries expand even further.
What is clear is that the potential for trade and interaction between Bhutan and Bangladesh is far from being reached and that both countries are moving in the same direction. There is much more to be done and many more areas of collaboration to be explored and pursued.
The people of Bhutan and Bangladesh already share a special bond and a natural friendliness towards each other. This was evident during the recent state visit when members of the Bangladeshi press and delegation observed that the atmosphere, despite being an official visit, went beyond protocol.
We can only expect relations between the two countries to continue soaring to greater heights.