The 6th Annual Bilateral Consultations between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Government of Australia were held in Thimphu on Friday, 19 May 2023. The consultations were co-chaired by Ms. Pema Tshomo, Officiating Director, Department of Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and Ms. Megan Jones, Assistant Secretary, Indian Ocean and South Asia Regional Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The two sides reviewed the development cooperation programmes and identified areas for future cooperation. The two sides also discussed key national developments, priorities and challenges since the last consultations held in 2018.
The last five years have witnessed several positive developments in Bhutan-Australia bilateral relations. In 2021, Bhutan opened its newest and tenth mission abroad, in Canberra. The current period marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and Australia. To mark this important milestone, in September 2022, Foreign Minister Lyonpo Dasho Dr. Tandi Dorji made an official visit to Australia, the first visit by a Foreign Minister of Bhutan in 19 years. On Monday, 15 May 2023, Assistant Foreign Minister the Hon. Tim Watts visited Bhutan. It was the first high-level ministerial visit from Australia to Bhutan since 1999. Today, Australia is home to the largest Bhutanese community abroad with a large population of Bhutanese studying, working and living across the country.
Education and human resource development are the main focus of Australia’s bilateral development assistance to Bhutan. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 14 September 2002.