The Embassy of India in Bhutan celebrated the laying of foundation stone of the Indian Embassy Estate as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India yesterday. 

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi laid the Foundation stone of the India House Estate in May 1968.

Her Majesty the Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and Her Majesty the Gyalyum Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, armed forces leaders, senior government officials and former Indian ambassadors to Bhutan attended the event marked with lighting of lamps, dances, and a feast. 

Indian Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar said that in the early days the struggles were many like building of roads on the treacherous mountain slope, or a school without road access. “But the Indians who came here were dedicated souls and their motives were pure,” he said.

They were received warmly and the two sides worked together with the quite efficiency and practicality we have come to associate with the Bhutanese, he said.  

Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar said that when he saw smiles on the faces of his predecessors who have come for the event, he thought that Bhutan is a country that does not forget it friends. 

“Many of them told me how proud and happy they felt seeing how well Bhutan has done as a society and a nation,” he said.  “As our journey together progressed, our relations grew in scope and substance. At times we were brothers in arms, at times we stood shoulder to shoulder on the world’s stage, but always we were equal partners in our common quest for peace, security and development of our two countries.” 

He said that whatever has been achieved would not have been possible without the blessings and affections of the Royal Family of Bhutan. With His Majesty’s wisdom and the guidance, more than anything else which has steered our cherished friendship,” he said. 

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said that Bhutan is blessed with monuments including the Indian embassy, which is a monument of Indo-Bhutan friendship. 

He said that the sokshingof the Indo-Bhutan friendship is the Royal family, the monarchs, which gives the relationship stability, provides the inspiration and guidance so that this monument, the India House is alive and continues to be alive. 

On January 13, the two foreign ministers unveiled a special logo to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries through a videoconference.

A joint committee for celebrations comprising senior officials from the government and the Embassy of India in Thimphu, and Ministry of External Affairs and the Royal Bhutanese embassy in New Delhi have been enduring to deliver on the aspirations of two governments.

The launch of the logo kicked off a year full of festivities in both the countries.

The ambassadors, lyonchhen said ensured the funds for development kept pouring in. “As a result today, in addition to the Nu 3.3 billion of the leftover funds of the 10th Plan, the Indian government provided Nu 44.4 billion in the 11th Plan,” he said. “Only 10 percent of the funds for the 11th Plan are remaining.” 

“We’ve spread the benefit of the assistance to every nook and corner of Bhutan but no monuments have been built and this is the legacy of Indo-Bhutan friendship,” Lyonchhen said. 

As the countries celebrate 50 years of friendly relationship, Lyonchhen said the time has come to build two more monuments, the Sunkosh hydropower project, for which works are at an advanced stage of signing the agreement, and the Cancer hospital. 

Initially designated as a special office of India in Bhutan, a resident mission was opened in Thimphu in January 1968. The office was later re-designated as office of the representative of India and then into the Embassy of India in 1978. 

Tshering Palden