To commemorate the golden jubilee celebrations of establishment of formal diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan, a musical event, ‘friends at fifty and forever’ was held on January 27 at the Clock Tower Square in Thimphu.

The event opened with the lighting of lamp by Indian ambassador Jaideep Sarkar, education minister Norbu Wangchuk and former Supreme Court Chief Justice and chairman of the National Organising Committee of Bhutan, lyonpo Sonam Tobgye.

Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar said friendship between India and Bhutan started in 1968 with the appointment of the first Indian ambassador and His Majesty The Third King gifting the area for the India House State.  “The friendship between the two countries is not only a friendship of and by the governments, but it is a friendship of the people, two cultures and of the values that we cherish together.”

He said that the relationship between the two countries are unique and serve as model of cooperation in South Asia. The bilateral relationship of interdependence, the ambassador said, can be credited to the great vision and wisdom of their Majesties the Kings of Bhutan and Indian leadership.

Education minister Norbu Wangchuk said friendship between the two countries is nothing short of magical and a miracle as two different and very unlikely countries have nurtured a deep bond of cooperation, goodwill and mutual affection.

He said he would describe the relationship between the two countries as a marriage. “A relationship that transcends self and goes beyond self interest.  Truly, over these 50 years we have nurtured a relationship that goes beyond economy, trade, commerce and politics. It is a sacrosanct relationship.”

Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye said that the friendship is a legacy of the past generation and must be passed down to the future generations. “Bhutan and India’s relationship is eternal, nothing can divide us and nothing can change us for we are united in culture, tradition and history.”

An Indian band led by Subhangini Joshi performed at the event organised by the Embassy of India and the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre. Bhutanese singer, Yangchen Drukpa also performed along with the band.

The Indian band also performed in Phuentsholing on January 26, at the Mojopark on January 27 and in Haa yesterday.

The musical event is the first in a series of events and activities to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

A press release from Indian embassy states that both India and Bhutan have planned a series of special commemorative initiatives, cultural activities, exhibitions and seminars throughout the year to mark the golden jubilee milestone.

Karma Cheki