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Remarks by EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj at a special function to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan, coinciding with the celebrations for the birthday of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan

February 21, 2018

Your Excellency Lyonpo Damcho Dorji,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan,
General V. Namgyel, Ambassador of Bhutan to India,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies & Gentlemen


Namaskar! Kuzuzongpo la (Greetings in Dzongkha)

I would like to thank Ambassador of Bhutan General V. Namgyel for inviting me to inaugurate, together with Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, Minister of Foreign Affairs, this special event by the Royal Bhutanese Embassy to mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan.

Today is indeed a very special day as people of Bhutan and we, in India, celebrate the birthday of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan.

On behalf of the Government and people of India, I extend my warmest greetings to His Majesty, the King of Bhutan on the joyous occasion of his birthday, and wish him good health, happiness and continued success in his pursuit of peace and prosperity for the friendly people of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan.

As we mark the golden jubilee year in our diplomatic relations, I recall with gratitude and admiration the vision and foresight of the successive political leadership in India and Their Majesties, the revered Kings of Bhutan, who laid the strong foundations of our unique relationship, and nurtured it for the mutual benefit of the two peoples.

We greatly admire the sagacious leadership of His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan in building the pillars of modern Bhutan. It is unparalleled in the history of modern age that a reigning Monarch so beloved by his people voluntarily choosing to give up power, giving his country a new constitution evolved through a model consultative process, and guiding its transition to democracy.

Beyond Bhutan, His Majesty’s contribution in furthering peace and development in the South Asian region, and giving the world the visionary philosophy of ‘Gross National Happiness’, is immeasurable.

Under the leadership of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, the last twelve years have seen Bhutan mature as a democracy and realizing all round development. What is more remarkable is that Bhutan has achieved its socio-economic transformation while preserving its natural heritage and cultural values.

His Majesty the King, fondly referred to as the People’s King has endeared himself to his beloved people by his humane touch; touring the length and breadth of the country and staying in the homes of local people.

The Indian people regard Their Majesties, the ‘revered’ Fourth King of Bhutan and ‘beloved’ King of Bhutan with the same reverence and affection as do the people of Bhutan.

On a personal note, I fondly recall my meeting with His Majesty in December 2009 - my first call on a Head of State after becoming the Leader of Opposition. What I remember most about my audience with His Majesty is his humility and graciousness, and his commitment to serve for the betterment of his people.

As a close friend and partner, we are delighted to see the remarkable progress made by Bhutan in its pursuit of economic growth and happiness for its people. We are truly privileged to be a partner in the nation-building efforts of Bhutan.

The year 2018 is a milestone moment for India-Bhutan partnership as we celebrate the accomplishments of the last five decades of our time-tested and special ties. It is also an opportunity for us to reflect on how well we could advance this unique partnership to respond to hopes and aspirations of our two peoples for our common prosperity and a better future.

We are proud of the special and exemplary ties of friendship and co-operation that we share with Bhutan, which are built on shared values and aspirations, utmost trust and mutual respect. It is a unique partnership built on the historical and cultural linkages between the two countries. I am extremely pleased to see today a large number of our young friends from Bhutan, which reflects the centrality of people-to-people linkages, providing great character, warmth and vibrancy to our expanding ties.

Since the joint launch of the special commemorative logo last month in New Delhi and Thimphu, a number of events have already been held both in India and Bhutan, setting in motion befitting celebrations for the rest of the year. We propose to organize fifty commemorative events and exchanges, cultural and sporting activities across different states in India and Bhutan that will truly epitomize our friendship.

We welcome the opening of the Consulate of the Royal Government of Bhutan in Guwahati in the Golden Jubilee year, which would further strengthen our contacts and cooperation, for the mutual benefit of both our countries.

Excellency, it has been an honor and privilege for me to be a part of this special commemorative event today organized by the Royal Bhutanese Embassy. I would like to congratulate Ambassador Namgyel and his team for the commendable efforts.

Before I conclude, let me reaffirm, on behalf of the Government and the people of India, our abiding commitment to nurture and advance our special and privileged partnership with Bhutan.

Long live India-Bhutan friendship!
Thank you.

Tashi Delek

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