1. At the invitation of H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, H.E. Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan paid a State Visit to Bangladesh from 12-15 April 2019, coinciding with the festive period of the Bangla New Year Pohela Boishakh. 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 delegation.
2. The visit by H.E. Dr. Lotay Tshering is the first by a Head of Government to Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office as Prime Minister and Leader of the 11th Parliament. The visit aims to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges of visits between the two countries.
3. H.E. Dr. Lotay Tshering was received by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, on arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, and was presented with a Guard of Honour and 19 Gun Salute.
4. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan laid a wreath at the National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar as a mark of respect to the memory of the sacrifices of the great freedom fighters of Bangladesh. He also paid tribute to the memory of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.
5. The Bangladesh Prime Minister expressed gratitude to Bhutan for being the first country to recognize the independence of Bangladesh on 06 December 1971, after a nine-month long War of Liberation. In this connection, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan expressed his sincere sympathies for the genocide and atrocities endured by the people of Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971.
6. H.E. Dr. Lotay Tshering paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid, Hon’ble President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
7. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh hosted a banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary and the accompanying delegation.
8. Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, MP paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister of Bhutan.
9. Hon’ble Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce and Hon’ble Minister for Shipping of Bangladesh paid respective courtesy calls on the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan.
10. The official talks between Bangladesh and Bhutan, led by the two Prime Ministers, were held on 13 April 2019 in an atmosphere of great warmth and cordiality reflecting the excellent bilateral relations and age-old friendship between the two countries.
11. During the meeting, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral relations whose strong foundations were laid by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The two Prime Ministers recognized the new heights the bilateral relations 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.
12. The leaders recalled the visit to Bhutan by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 2017; by H.E. Md. Abdul Hamid, Hon’ble President of Bangladesh in 2016; and by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 2009 and 2013. The two leaders also recalled the visit to Bangladesh by His Majesty the King of Bhutan in 2011; His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen in 2013; and, by the Prime Minister of Bhutan in 2014.
13. The Prime Minister of Bhutan recalled the inspiring leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman whose vision of “Sonar Bangla” is being realized under the leadership of H.E. Sheikh Hasina. He lauded Bangladesh’s tremendous socio-economic advancements during the tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
14. The two Prime Ministers recalled with satisfaction the great strides Bangladesh and Bhutan have made in terms of socio-economic development as the two countries are set to be elevated from LDC status in the coming few years.
15. H.E. Dr. Lotay Tshering thanked the Government of Bangladesh for providing opportunities for Bhutanese students to pursue higher education, especially in the field of medicine. He stated that Bangladesh has made significant contribution towards achievement of Bhutan’s health vision by providing slots for Bhutanese students in government medical and dental colleges in Bangladesh. H.E. Sheikh Hasina assured the continued support of Bangladesh to further enhance cooperation with Bhutan in education and announced an additional five scholarships for Bhutanese students in government medical colleges in Bangladesh, taking the total number of reserved seats for Bhutanese medical students to 15.
16. The Prime Minister of Bhutan, referring to the shortage of medical specialists in Bhutan, expressed the strong interest of Bhutan to recruit specialists from Bangladesh to work in government hospitals in Bhutan. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, recognizing Bhutan’s need, agreed to facilitate the recruitment of medical specialists from Bangladesh. The two Prime Ministers witnessed and welcomed the signing of an MoU to this effect.
17. The Prime Minister of Bhutan expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of Bangladesh for the generous donation of essential medicines towards the Bhutan Health Trust Fund.
18. The two Prime Ministers noted the expanding bilateral trade and acknowledged its importance in further cementing the friendship between the two countries. They agreed to allow duty free access to additional 16 items proposed by Bhutan and 10 items proposed by Bangladesh for which both sides shall expedite the process.
19. The two Prime Ministers noted that the Agreement on the Movement of Goods in Transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan will be finalized soon by the next Commerce Secretary Level meeting.
20. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the SOP for the operationalization of the MoU on the Use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes between Bangladesh and Bhutan.
21. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the ongoing discussions among Bangladesh, Bhutan and India on the proposed trilateral cooperation in hydroelectric power. They noted that a trilateral meeting of the power secretaries could be held in this regard. They underscored that collaboration in this sector can further strengthen regional cooperation, encourage use of renewable energy and mitigate climate change challenges.
22. The Prime Minister of Bhutan recalled Bangladesh’s offer of internet bandwidth and satellite services, and welcomed the offer.
23. The two sides also exchanged views on cooperation in other regional and international fora namely, SAARC, BIMSTEC, and the UN, and noted the commonality of their views and positions on all major issues and agreed to continue to work together for mutual benefit.
24. In the presence of the two Prime Ministers, the following MoUs were signed:
a. MoU between Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh and the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan (MoAF)
b. MoU between Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) and Royal Institute for Management (RIM) of Bhutan
c. MoU between Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and Tourism Council of Bhutan
d. MoU between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan
e. SOP for the operationalization of the MoU on Use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Royal Government of Bhutan
25. The Prime Minister of Bhutan expressed his deep appreciation for the cordial welcome and warm hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during his stay in Bangladesh.
26. The Prime Minister of Bhutan and the delegation joined the people of Bangladesh in the celebration of Pohela Boishakh, the Bangla New Year, on 14 April 2019.
27. H.E. Dr. Lotay Tshering visited the Mymensingh Medical College, theBangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the BIMSTEC Secretariat.
28. The Prime Minister of Bhutan extended an invitation to H.E. Sheikh Hasina to visit Bhutan at a convenient time.
14 April 2019