State visit: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay received the President of Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid, who is on a four-day state visit to Bhutan, at Paro airport yesterday afternoon.

Foreign minister Damcho Dorji and economic affairs minister Lekey Dorji, along with senior government officials, also received the President at the airport. The president is accompanied by first lady Rashida Khanam.

The visit is expected to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. Bhutan and Bangladesh have traditionally enjoyed very close and friendly relations.

President Abdul Hamid is in the country at the invitation of His Majesty The King. While in Bhutan, the President will meet His Majesty The King and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

This is the first visit to Bhutan by the President of Bangladesh.

While the President is in Bhutan, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and foreign minister Damcho Dorji will call on the President. The President and Bhutanese leaders will exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

National Assembly Speaker Jigme Zangpo and National Council Chairperson Dr Sonam Kinga, will also call on the President.

“The first visit to Bhutan by President Abdul Hamid will contribute towards strengthening the friendship, cooperation and understanding between the leaders and the peoples of the two countries,” a news release from the foreign ministry stated.

The President will address a joint session of Parliament on Monday. He will return to Bangladesh on the same day.

The ongoing Parliament session has been extended in view of the President’s visit to the country.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the country twice in 2009 and 2010. Bhutan was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country on December 6, 1971.

MB Subba