Bangladesh Prime Minister to visit Bhutan

Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, will make a state visit to Bhutan for three days starting April 18.


Her Excellency the PM will lead a delegation comprising of the Foreign Minister and other senior government officials of the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Her Excellency, together with Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen and Hon’ble Lyonchhenn Tshering Tobgay, will also grace the inaugural of the International Conference on Autism and Neoro-Development Disorders.
The three day conference is being hosted by the Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh, the Ministry of Health of Bhutan with the technical support of Shuchona foundation, Ability Bhutan Society and the WHO South East Asia Regional Office.
Her Excellency will also unveil the Foundation Stone for the construction of Chancery of Embassy of Bangladesh at Hejo and will also preside over the signing of several MoUs between the two countries.
Bhutan and Bangladesh have traditionally enjoyed very close and friendly relations. The visit to Bhutan by her Excellency will provide further impetus towards strengthening of the close ties of friendship, cooperation and understanding between the leaders and the people of two countries.
While Bhutan maintains an embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s Embassy in Thimphu will be the only Bangladeshi representation in Bhutan.
Bangladesh – Introduction
Bangladesh is located in the north-eastern part of South Asia. The country has 4156 km border with India on the east, west and north; and by the Bay of Bengal in the south and another 193 km with Myanmar on the south-east.
The name ‘Bangladesh’ literally means the land of Bangla, the language of the inhabitants of Bangladesh.
The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established in course of the partition of the then Bengal and the Indian sub-continent in 1947 as it became the eastern part of the newly-formed state of Pakistan.
Bangladesh attained independence on 26 March 1971 as the culmination of decades of struggle for freedom and statehood under the inspiring and resolute leadership of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
At his call, the Bangalee people rose in resistance against the occupation army of Pakistan and waged an epic war for the liberation of the land.
The nine-month long war ended in the victory for the Bangalees over the Pakistan Army on 16 December 1971.
Bangladesh straddles the fertile Ganges Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) basin. The country commands a land area of about 1,47,570 square kilometres (56,977 square miles).
The capital city of Dhaka is the principal metropolis, founded around four centuries ago. The other major cities and administrative centres are Chittagong, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet and Mymensingh, which, together with Dhaka, constitute the eight divisional headquarters.
A principal resource of the country is her people who are widely recognized as resilient, youthful, innovative and entrepreneurial.
Bangladesh is the 8th most populous country in the world and is among the most densely populated countries that is having a population of around 159 million, with a density of 1,049 person per sq. km.
Lungi (Sarong), vest, shirt, loose trousers (pajama) and Panjabi (Kurta) are common-wear for men and saree is the common dress for women.
The Kingdom of Bhutan was the first country to recognize Bangladesh’s independence. And over the years, the two countries have committed to a strategic development partnership, encompassing hydropower, free trade and transport.
They are also common members of SAARC and BIMSTEC. Bangladesh and India are the only countries to have resident embassies in Bhutan.
A Brief History
As the Bangladesh Liberation War approached the defeat of West Pakistani forces, the King of Bhutan sent a telegram to the Acting President of the Provisional Government of Bangladesh on the morning of 6 December 1971.
Bhutan became the first state in the world to recognize the new country. It was later followed in the day by India.
Trade
Bhutan and Bangladesh signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1980, granting each other the “most favored nation” preferential status for development of trade.
As of FY 2009-2010 Bangladesh’s total imports Bhutan stood at USD 25 million, while its exports to Bhutan accounted for USD 3 million.
The agreement was renewed during the official visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed to Thimphu in 2009.
In 2014, during the visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to Dhaka, Bangladesh granted duty-free access to 90 products from Bhutan.
Energy
The two countries have begun negotiations to jointly develop hydropower in the Himalayas. Bhutan has a potential to generate more than 50,000 MW of hydroelectricity, which could significantly supply the energy-starved market in Bangladesh.
The 2014 SAARC Framework Agreement on electric grid integration would pave the way for energy trading in the region.
Transport
Landlocked Bhutan is keen to use Bangladeshi seaports in Chittagong, Mongla and Paira, as well as the Saidpur Airport, for the transshipment of cargo.
A sub-regional transit network between Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan is under active consideration by SAARC and is being supported by the Asian Development Bank.
To this effect the four countries have signed an agreement for the easy movement of Cargo, Passenger and personal vehicle movement between them.
Other agreements
Bhutan and Bangladesh have actively cooperated in the field of flood control in the aftermath of severe floods in Bangladesh in 1988.
Bangladesh also extended support to Bhutan following the 2009 earthquake. Bangladesh offers one scholarship to the Royal Bhutanese Army for a course at the Bangladesh Defense Services Command and Staff College.
Both nations signed an air services agreement in 1986, allowing for seven weekly flights between the two nations.
Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is a focus city for Druk Air.
Currently, Bhutan maintains 5 embassies abroad as well as 20 consulates and other representations. The Bhutanese capital Thimphu hosts 3 embassies, and in addition there are 6 consulates and 5 other representations in Bhutan.
Compiled by:
Usha Drukpa

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