Bhutanese PM leaves with pledge to further strengthen ties
Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering left Dhaka on Monday morning after wrapping up a four-day state visit to Bangladesh with a promise to further "strengthen the bonds of friendship" between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman saw the Bhutanese Prime Minister off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, among others, was present.
The visit focused on exploring more connectivity and business opportunities between Dhaka and Thimphu. Bangladesh and Bhutan agreed in principle to work on allowing duty free (DF) and quota free (QF) access of a number of their products to each other's market for the mutual interests, according to the Foreign Ministry.
"Bhutan has sought duty and quota free access of 16 products to Bangladesh market, while Bangladesh has sought such access of 10 goods to Bhutanese market during the official talks between the two countries," Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said while briefing journalists after the talks between the two Prime Ministers on Saturday.
The visit witnessed signing of a number of bilateral documents including SOP for the operationalisation of the MoU on Use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes between Bangladesh and the Royal Government of Bhutan, the Foreign Ministry said.
Dr Lotay, who is also an alumni of Mymensingh Medical College, made his maiden visit at the invitation of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after taking his office as Bhutan Prime Minister last year.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral relations whose strong foundations were laid by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
The two prime ministers recognized the new heights of the bilateral relations that have reached in the last decade under the leadership of the two countries and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen and consolidate the relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan.
After the bilateral talks, Bangladesh and Bhutan have signed five instruments on strengthening their cooperation in the areas of health, agriculture, shipping, tourism and public administration training.
The Bhutanese premier also called on Bangladesh President M Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban as well as attended banquet dinner hosted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Besides, Lotay held meetings with Bangladesh foreign, commerce, health and shipping ministers separately.
He also held meeting with the leaders of FBCCI where he said Bhutan is highly keen to develop the existing trade relations with Bangladesh and also wants to explore the trade potentials. The Bhutanese Prime Minister also joined one of the Bangalee New Year celebration programmes to greet the countrymen in the capital.
During the visit that started on Friday, Dr Lotay spent half of yesterday at Mymensingh Medical College and Hospital from where he had received his MBBS degree under foreign student quota.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan was accompanied by his spouse Dr Ugyen Dema, the Foreign Minister, the Health Minister, other senior government officials of Bhutan, and a business