Dhaka rolls out red carpet to welcome Bhutanese king

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and First Lady receives the king and his delegation members at the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka today, Monday.UNB

Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on Monday was accorded a red carpet reception on his arrival on a four-day state visit to Bangladesh to attend a series of programmes including Independence Day celebrations.

This is first state visit paid by any foreign dignitary since the formation of the new government after 7 January national election.

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and First Lady received the king and his delegation members who arrived at 10:00am by a special flight.

The king was given state salute and guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of Bangladesh Armed Forces. He inspected the guard of honour, while the national anthems of the two countries were played.

After the ceremony at the airport, he was headed for Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 to pay tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On Monday afternoon, the king will have a delegation-level meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her office. They will have a one-to-one meeting too.

Three new MoUs will be signed between Bangladesh and Bhutan while another MoU on cultural exchange will be renewed.

The king and the prime minister will witness the signing of the MoUs.
Foreign minister Hasan Mahmud will meet the king at his place of residence the same day before the meeting with the prime minister.

On Tuesday, the king will visit the National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar.
He will also visit Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.

The royal guest will visit Bangabhaban where he will be received by the president and his wife.

The king will have a meeting with the president at 4:30 pm on Tuesday.
The president will host iftar and a dinner reception in honour of the visiting royal.

On Wednesday morning, Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck and selected Bhutanese delegation members will leave Bangladesh for Bhutan by a special flight.

Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Rehana and foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen will see them off at the airport.

The Bhutanese king will visit Padma Bridge and Bangladesh Special Economic Zone in Araihazar, Narayanganj.

On Thursday, the king will visit Kurigram Special Economic Zone.

He will leave Bangladesh territory for Golakganj, Assam via Sonahat Land Port on Thursday afternoon.

Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, state minister for shipping, will see him off there.

The 4th King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, sent a letter of congratulations to the prime minister recently saying under her dynamic and strong leadership, Bangladesh has enjoyed peace, stability and unprecedented economic development.

He also termed Bhutan as a "close friend" and rejoiced with the people of Bangladesh on this occasion.

Bhutan was the first country to recognise the newly independent Bangladesh on 6 December 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. Immediately after the independence, the Bhutanese government took initiative to establish diplomatic relations with Bangladesh and, consequently, formal diplomatic relations was established on 12 April 1973.

Foreign minister Hasan on Sunday said Bangladesh will allocate 190 acres of land in Kurigram for a special economic zone for Bhutanese investors.

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 told reporters at the foreign ministry.

He said Bhutan has a potential of producing 25,000 megawatts of hydropower.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh will also import hydropower from Nepal and things are settled regarding that initiative.

Hasan said Bangladesh will construct a Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit in Thimphu as a goodwill gesture which also demonstrates the country’s capacity.

"We have multifaceted relations with Bhutan," Hasan said.