Our reporter Sherab Lhamo interviews the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Bhutan, residence in New Delhi, Eliska Zigova, regarding the Bhutan-Czech Republic relationship and the future prospects

What are the primary objectives of your visit to Bhutan?

This visit is my third visit to Bhutan. So, it’s always a different object, different goal. So, if you talk about this particular visit, it was the opening of our Honorary Consulate. It means the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic is now officially open and functioning in Thimphu.

Last year, Your Excellency had a productive five-day visit to Bhutan, where you met with His Majesty The King. During that time, you expressed the Czech Republic’s keen interest in further strengthening ties between our nations, particularly in the areas of education, technology transfer, and economic cooperation. We would appreciate an update on any developments in these areas since your last visit.

Well, since my last visit, we have had a few very concrete updates. We have a few projects in research and also cyber security. The Czech Republic now is developing its cyber security.  But also in fields of education, science, and research, we look to collaborate.

Regarding education, it is about exchange of students. We have a very nice exchange system; it is very encouraging. We look to expand one these areas.

Regarding the updates now, I hope that it will be much more effective with having the Honorary Consul. Because we were working from Delhi, and it’s not so easy.  Now we will have a direct line ofcontact with our colleague, which is Honorary Consul, Tenzing Yonten here. So I think it will be much more efficient.

But as I said, there are updates in education, cyber security, and the rest we will follow. We are very much interested in the vision of His Majesty the King and  this Mindfulness City.

Building upon the existing foundation of friendship, how can our two countries further strengthen our relationship, especially in the mutually-beneficial areas of education, technology transfer, and economic exchange?

Well, I think we need much more contacts, people-to-people, and business-to-business. The point is that we can arrange different MOU, or we can speak like diplomats and politics on the level, but then it has to go deeper to the concrete actions, which, again, I really hope with our consulate here it will go more smoothly. We really would like to work on the higher level visit, from Bhutan to Czech, or vice versa. It’s not easy to work because of the distance. On the other side, mutual interest is really honest and based on real interest. So we will try to organise some business forums or exchanges of not only students.

Is there anything you would like to share with us regarding your visit or the relationship between our two countries?

I would like, first of all, to share my very warm feeling about Bhutan, which is new. Bhutan is very popular in the Czech Republic. People are interested in what’s going on in Bhutan. There was not much travelling because it wasn’t easy in the past, but we will see how the tourism will go from both sides. But yes, there is a kind of fascination with Bhutan, to be very honest.

Your country is unique and, today, we saw this opening ceremony. It’s not only the official signing and handshakes, but a kind of spiritual ceremony, which I think is something which Bhutan can in future share with the Czech Republic and world, because we need it very much.