Kuwait Embassy Charge’ D’affaires .a.i. Fadel Haider Soud Alhasan talked to Kuensel’s Chief Reporter Tshering Palden on the relations between the State of Kuwait and Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan and the State of Kuwait are characterised by several similarities. These similarities have created a great deal of understanding and exchange of support between the two leaderships, governments, and their people. The wise leaders established the diplomatic relations between the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Bhutan in 1983. Since then, both nations are determined to build great relationships and are working to achieve peace in their region and wherever it is needed globally. They have so gained the trust and respect of the entire world.
Two tiny nations, far apart, what keeps the relationship growing?
With a vision of His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the late Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, an agreement for the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations was signed between the two countries in 1983. His Majesty The King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and His Highness the current Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, continued to provide mutual support on the developmental, political, and international level.
What were some of the significant milestones in this relationship?
There is no doubt that the State of Kuwait continuously appreciates and have gratitude to the Kingdom of Bhutan for standing by the State of Kuwait when it was subjected to an unjust invasion by Iraq on 2nd August 1990. On the other hand, the State of Kuwait stood by side of the Kingdom of Bhutan when it was subjected to hostile acts in 2003, which is common for friends standing next to each other in difficult times.
What are the sectors that Kuwait is engaged in Bhutan?
Kuwait is honored to have the opportunity to support five projects through the Kuwait Development Fund in Gedu. Wood Industries Complex with USD 5.98 million in 1983, Tala Particle Factory with USD 6.8 million in 1984, Bhutan calcium carbide with USD 6.6 million in 1985, Tala Particle Factory Production of granular sheets with USD 3.7 million in 1986, and the Program of Operation of the Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) with USD 5.07 million in 1992. In 2008, both countries had exchanged different proposals through GNH to Kuwait Development Fund to continue exchanging support in various fields, mainly in the health sector.
What changes have you observed in these sectors over the years?
Bhutan has achieved great development in recent years. There are very advanced achievements in the field of hydroelectricity, which makes it one of the most developed countries. And I have also noticed a great achievement in the field of satellite and there are many promising opportunities that encourage Kuwait and other countries to take opportunities in tourism, air services and organic agriculture.
What are some of the future programmes of collaboration, including the 12th Plan?
The Embassy of the State of Kuwait has clear instructions from the officials of the Government of Kuwait to develop an excellent relationship between the two countries. I am honored that I had an audience with His Majesty the Fourth King on August 7, 2017 and I had an audience with His Majesty The King on February 20, 2018. I am also honored to have met with the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on February 24, 2018. The Kuwaiti Embassy is currently working with the Bhutanese government to prepare high-level visits and sign a number of bilateral agreements in five important areas.
How does Kuwait try to engage outside the formal programmes?
I would like to extend our sincere thanks to His Majesty the Fourth King and His Majesty The King and all the Bhutanese officials and friends for their kindness and support to me, my family and all the members of the Kuwaiti Embassy in Thimphu. I have the honour to thank on behalf of the people of Kuwait the 900 Bhutanese oversees workers who are currently working and living in Kuwait and sharing their excellent experience and knowledge in various fields in the business sector.
Anything else you would like to add?
I urge all our good Bhutanese friends to visit Kuwait. Bhutanese citizens can travel to Kuwait on visa upon arrival, can stay there for one month, and can be extended further if required. There are many museums, shopping centres and entertainment places in Kuwait that the Bhutanese will like.