Bhutan’s king due in Dhaka Monday, 3 MoUs likely to be signed

Flags of Bangladesh and Bhutan

Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will arrive in Bangladesh on a four-day state visit on 25 March.

This will be the first summit visit of any foreign country’s leader since the Awami League formed the government in January for the fourth straight term.

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and the First Lady Rebeka Sultana will receive Bhutanese King at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud informed this to the media at a media conference on Sunday afternoon.

News agency BSS adds: The foreign minister said three new memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will be signed between Bangladesh and Bhutan while another MoU will be renewed during the visit.

“We have multifaceted relations with Bhutan,” he said at the curtain raiser briefing at the foreign ministry.

The MoUs are, Establishment of a Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit in Thimphu, Bhutan; Establishment of Special Economic Zone for Bhutan in Kurigram, Bangladesh, and Technical cooperation in consumer protection.

Under the MoUs, Bangladesh will allocate 190 acres of land in Kurigram for a special economic zone for Bhutanese investors, the foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud addresses a media conference on the visit of Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Bangladesh

He said Bangladesh wants to import hydropower from Bhutan and a tripartite agreement is required to bring the electricity through India.

“We are in discussion to that end,” he added.

Hasan Mahmud said Bhutan has a potential of producing 25,000 MW of hydropower.

Hasan said Bangladesh will construct a burn unit in Thimphu as a goodwill gesture which also demonstrates the country’s capacity.

The foreign minister also briefed about the visit of the Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Bhutan was the first country to recognise the newly independent Bangladesh on 6 December in 1971 when the 3rd King of Bhutan sent a message of recognition by telegram.

Since then Bangladesh and Bhutan share a special multidimensional bilateral relationship.

The King, along with Bhutanese Foreign, Health, Industry and Commerce Ministers and the Bhutanese Queen, is scheduled to arrive on Monday morning.

Highlighting the significance of the Bhutanese King’s visit to Bangladesh, the foreign minister said this is the first high-level state visit to Bangladesh since the new government assumed power. Through the establishment of a Special Economic Zone, opportunities for trade, investment and employment will be created in the country (especially in the northern region) during this visit. The initiative to establish a Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit in Thimphu will serve the greater welfare of the South Asian region.

Hasan Mahmud further said there will be opportunities to increase bilateral trade with Bhutan through transit and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). Power supply and exchange opportunities will be created through the tripartite cooperation agreement in the power sector.