Dhaka, Thimphu agree to enhance cooperation in trade, connectivity, electricity

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UNB: Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud today met Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck at his place of residence in Dhaka.

At the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the current excellent level of cooperation between the two countries.

They agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade and commerce, connectivity, power, agriculture, education, culture, people-to-people contact etc.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the foreign minister said he requested Bhutan to rejoin BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Initiative) and increase air-connectivity to increase people-to-people contacts between the two countries, reads a press release.

“Dhaka-Thimpu now has only two flights a week, it needs to be increased. There was also a discussion about people being able to take cars on roads,” he said.

Hasan also said the issue of importing hydropower from Bhutan has been discussed.

“Just as India has helped imports of hydropower from Nepal, India will also help imports from Bhutan,” he added.

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Bangladesh and Bhutan today signed three new memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to enhance mutual cooperation between the neighbouring countries.

The MoUs include the establishment of a Special Economic Zone in Kurigram, setting up of a Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit in Thimphu, and technical cooperation on consumer rights. Another MoU on cultural exchange was renewed.

The Bhutanese King arrived in Dhaka on Monday morning.

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

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and First Lady received the King and his delegation members, who arrived in the city at 10am on a special flight.

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 have shared a special multidimensional bilateral relationship. Immediately after the independence, the Bhutanese government took the initiative to establish diplomatic relations with Bangladesh, and consequently, formal diplomatic relations were established on 12 April 1973.

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