The significance of His Majesty’s Royal visit to India last week is powerful. It carries strong historic overtones, accentuates the reality of bilateral relations as defined by our two countries, and establishes a firm foundation for Bhutan’s future vision.

His Majesty met political and business leaders and people from all walks of life, from Assam in the east, to New Delhi at the centre, and Mumbai in the west. We in Bhutan felt the special validity of India’s friendship and support, the nostalgia of the long-cherished cross-border links with our north-eastern neighbours, and the exciting potential of connecting with the living pillars of the Indian economy.

From the official discussions, media attention, and public discourse, we Bhutanese saw a heart-warming response to developments in Bhutan which will have an impact on the region. In the past, we have seen media headlines fanning speculation and rumour so we are reminded of the importance of getting news right, in terms of both facts and perspective.

Bhutan does not take India’s friendship and cooperation for granted but values the consistent support of a true friend and neighbour. India appreciates Bhutan’s commitment to a friendship nurtured by leaders of the two countries into a testimony of bilateral relations. This time-tested bond, ignited by His Majesty the third King of Bhutan and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, continues to reach new geo-strategic heights.

India has emphasised its commitment to the development of South Asia. A prosperous Bhutan compliments this concept, an idea becoming reality with discussions between His Majesty The King and India’s political and economic giants.

We have seen the personal rapport between His Majesty The King and Prime Minister Narendra Modi who even personally presented to Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck his first football. India’s response to the latest visit of His Majesty tells us that the two dynamic leaders are united in the vision for bilateral cooperation which will transform Bhutan as well as the economy of the region.

It was touching that Assam celebrated the first formal visit of the King of Bhutan as an emotive long-awaited event. Given the interaction and relationship between people across the shared border, His Majesty described the people of Assam as family. In this proximity, there is every reason to build on this goodwill.

Our ancestors made the connection, our leaders nurtured it, and now the relationship grows, established by vision, and tested by time.