Lyonchhen addresses

Nima Wangdi | Dhaka

Bangladesh as a nation was born 50 years ago amid strife and turbulence. Today, as she shares her story of success with the world, the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country, Bhutan joins the celebrations.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said this in his statement of the guest of honour at the birth centenary of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the golden jubilee of the independence day celebration of Bangladesh at the national parade ground in Dhaka yesterday evening.

Conveying warm greetings and prayers of His Majesty The King and the people of Bhutan, Lyonchhen said it was always a delight to return to Bangladesh. “But the reason this time was more compelling,” he said.  

“I came to listen to the story of Bangladesh, that too from her excellency Sheikh Hasina, who is an inspiring leader and mother-like figure to me,” he added.

Lyonchhen said such a historic event uplifts the spirits of the people of Bangladesh and the entire region when Covid-19 pandemic has claimed many lives and disrupted the livelihoods of millions more.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said while the two countries have many bilateral engagements, the purpose of his visit this time is purely to pay tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who laid a strong foundation for his nation.

With a few reiterations in Bengali, Lyonchhen thanked Bangladesh for making him and the people of Bhutan part of the celebrations. Lyonchhen then presented the commemorative stamp of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Sheikh Hasina. A cultural troupe from Royal Academy for Performing Arts (RAPA) also performed traditional and masked dances.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, said Dhaka had become a reunion place for South Asian leaders. The presidents of the Maldives and Nepal and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Bhutan have come to join the celebrations.

The 10-day celebration started on March 17 by celebrating the birth centenary of the nation’s father and will conclude tomorrow with the Independence Day celebration. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the festivities tomorrow.

PM Sheikh Hasina said, “Bhutan is a close neighbour and a friend.” The countries share similar history and traditions besides the geographical proximity. The contact between the people of the two countries dates way back in history. Mahasiddha Tilopa, who taught Buddhism in Tibet and Bhutan, was also born in Bangladesh. 

“In our great liberation war, the late third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and the Bhutanese people supported freedom-loving Bengalis,” she said.

Bhutan is the first country to recognise independent Bangladesh. Even before achieving the final victory on December 16, 1971, Bhutan formally recognised Bangladesh on December 6.

Bangladesh awarded the third King of Bhutan with Bangladesh Liberation War accolade in 2012 for his outstanding contribution to Bangladesh’s great liberation war.

Lyonchhen also met with the Bhutanese community in Bangladesh in the evening. He will return to Bhutan today with the delegation and undergo 21-day mandatory quarantine.