At the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Maithripali Sirisena, Hon’ble President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay paid an official visit to Sri Lanka from 9th to 12th April 2015. Lyonchhen was accompanied by Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa, Minister of Education and other senior government officials.
Lyonchhen was received at the Bandaranaike International Airport by His Excellency Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.
Lyonchhen was received by His Excellency President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on the morning of 10th April 2015. Lyonchhen was accorded a ceremonial welcome with a Guard of Honour and 19 Gun Salute.
Lyonchhen held a bilateral meeting with President Sirisena. The meeting noted the excellent relations between the two countries and discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation particularly in the areas of education, health and aviation amongst others. Lyonchhen briefed the President on the peaceful and smooth transition to democracy in Bhutan under the enlightened leadership of our monarchs.
Following the meeting, Lyonchhen and the President witnessed the signing by the Foreign Secretaries of a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultations between the two countries. The MoU provides a mechanism for structured dialogue between the two countries to further promote relations.
His Excellency Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs and His Excellency Mr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Sri Lanka called on Lyonchhen during the visit and held discussions on issues of mutual interest. The Vice-Chancellors and Deans of the Universities of Colombo, Kelaniya, Peradeniya and the Kotelawala Defence University, which are host to Bhutanese students, also paid a courtesy call on Lyonchhen.
President Sirisena hosted a banquet in honour of Lyonchhen.
His Excellency Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka hosted a lunch in honour of Lyonchhen and also invited Lyonchhen to visit the Parliament building.
On 11th April 2015, Lyonchhen visited the Sri Mahabodhi temple in Anuradhapura to receive a sapling of the holy Sri Mahabodhi Tree as a gift of the Government and People of Sri Lanka to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo on the occasion of His Majesty’s 60th Birth Anniversary. The sapling was handed over to Lyonchhen by the Most Venerable Atamasthanadipathi Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Temple.
This sacred gift from the Government and People of Sri Lanka is spiritually meaningful and will further strengthen the strong ties of friendship and culture between Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
Lyonchhen also met the Bhutanese students in Colombo and Peradeniya and congratulated them on being good Ambassadors of Bhutan. He further urged them to strive towards excelling in their field of education and to serve the Tsa-Wa-Sum.
Lyonchhen paid homage at the Kelaniya and Gangaramayana temples in Colombo, and the sacred Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy which houses the sacred relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha. The Governor of Kandy hosted a lunch in honor of Lyonchhen. Lyonchhen also visited the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya and planted a tree.
Mr. Abbas Esufally, Honorary Consul of Bhutan hosted a dinner in honour of Lyonchhen. This has been a most successful visit and has contributed to strengthening the already friendly and cooperative relations between Sri Lanka and Bhutan.