His Majesty The King arrived in Guwahati yesterday starting a weeklong official visit to India.

His Majesty was warmly welcomed by the Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, members of the cabinet and senior government officials of the state government at Lokpriya Gopinath International Airport in Guwahati yesterday morning.

Upon arriving in Guwahati, His Majesty visited the revered Kamakhya Temple located atop the Nilachal hills in the city, and offered prayers.

The Foreign Secretary of India, Vinay Kwatra called on His Majesty later in the day. The Chief Minister of Assam, along with ministers and senior government officials of the state also called on His Majesty The King.

His Majesty also met with Bhutanese who are studying or working in Guwahati.

His Majesty The King visited the famed Kamakhya Temple and offered prayers. The oldest parts of the temple are said to be from the 8th century.

In the evening, the Governor of Assam, Gulab Chand Kataria, hosted a cultural programme and dinner for His Majesty The King.

This is His Majesty’s first official visit to Assam, a state with which Bhutan and Bhutanese people share close ties as neighbours. During the three-day visit in Assam, His Majesty is expected to visit the famed Kaziranga National Park.

The official visit to Assam serves to reinforce the strong ties of friendship between Bhutan and India, exemplified by the friendly interactions and goodwill between the people of Bhutan and neighbouring Indian states.

Meanwhile, the people of Assam believe that His Majesty’s visit to the state is a strong symbol of the long-standing friendship between Bhutan and India.

A businessman in Guwahati, Kalita Das, said that Bhutan and Assam share a strong business connection. “Both Bhutan and India have maintained a positive relationship. I expect that our relationship will continue to grow even stronger.”

“It is a great honour for India to welcome His Majesty The King of Bhutan to Assam. I want to express my gratitude to the King of Bhutan for visiting us,” he added.

Ranjan Ali, a tailor in Dadgari, said that the visit would help create a brighter and more harmonious future between Bhutan and Assam. “We always support and help each other, and we will continue to maintain our friendship.”

The Secretary-General of the Bhutan-India Friendship Association (BIFA), Gelephu Chapter, Dawa Penjor, said that the people of Assam are very happy about His Majesty’s visit. “I have been constantly receiving joyful messages from my counterparts in Assam, including the media.”

“Assam has been really helpful with all the development work in Gelephu, and I am confident they will continue supporting us in any development plans,” Dawa Penjor said.

“Our friendship is a win-win situation. The development in Gelephu also provides employment opportunities for people in neighboring Indian towns,” he said. “We have been working closely to make the relationship between our two nations even stronger.”

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on his social media, stated, “Under the guidance of our Prime Minister, we look forward to the strengthening of the special relationship between our two countries.”

Bhutan and India have a 649-kilometer border, with 267 kilometers of it shared with Assam. The people of Bhutan and Assam have a history of trade and interaction with Bhutanese merchants who used to visit Assam to sell their products.

Meanwhile, as a goodwill gesture ahead of His Majesty’s visit to the state, the Assam Cabinet approved the reservation of MBBS seats in Assam’s medical colleges for the Royal Government of Bhutan.