Coinciding with the day the Indo-Bhutan Treaty of 2007 was signed, the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Bhutan and India ended yesterday with as much grandeur as it began in January last year.

Her Majesty the Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck launched a book and documentaries called The Golden Jubilee: The Enduring Friendship (1968-2018) at the event.

Her Majesty also awarded mementoes to former ambassadors to India and the Indian Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar.

Some of the major events to mark the year include Bhutan Week at the Indira Gandhi Arts and Crafts Centre in New Delhi, the visits of His Holiness Je Khenpo and Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering to India, retired Indian teachers honoured on teacher’s day, opening of a consulate office in Guwahati, and the inauguration of the Chukha-Damchu bypass.  

The two countries also hosted many other social, cultural and academic programmes to boost people to people contact and celebrate the relationship.

The chairperson of the National Organising Committee, former thrimchi Sonam Tobgye said that His Majesty The King and Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the celebrations of the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between the two neighbours.

“It was a truly special moment in history when the groundbreaking ceremony of the golden jubilee lhakhang was held in the sacred Buddhist site in Rajgir by His Holiness the Je Khenpo,” Sonam Tobgye said.

He said that the exemplary friendship forged on principles of mutual trust and respect for one another has established a special bond between the two countries.

Foreign minister Dr Tandi Dorji said it was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the immense contributions that the visionary leaders have made to the excellent and exemplary relations of the two countries.

He said that the two countries are bound by a shared destiny of peace, harmony and prosperity. “We have shown to the world that asymmetries in size are not barriers but opportunities for forging close ties of mutual beneficial friendship and cooperation.”

Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Jaideep Sarkar said that celebrations held in the two countries reflected the splendeur and diversity of the relationship. “The events reminded us how deep our economic, spiritual and cultural links are,” he said.

He said that the driving force, motivation and the inspiration behind all that has been achieved together have been the wise kings of Bhutan.

“As we look to the next 50 years we will depend on the wisdom and hardwork of the new generation to carry forward this magnificent legacy,” he said. “I hope the new generation will see our relationship as one of shared values, mutual respect and affection, and common interests.”

Prime Minister, Chief Justices and Cabinet ministers joined representatives from the international communities, and senior government officials for the event at the convention centre.

Tshering Palden