Staff Reporter 

As a mark of appreciation from the people of Bhutan for his leadership and personal efforts towards strengthening the exceptional relations between Bhutan and India, His Majesty The King yesterday conferred The Order of The Druk Gyalpo, Bhutan’s highest civilian recognition, to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is recognised for further strengthening the great tradition of exemplary friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India by building upon a legacy founded over 50 years ago.

“The importance he attaches to the close and special relations between our two counties was evident in his choice to choose Bhutan for his first international visit as Prime Minister in 2014, and the continued gestures of support,  including initiating new partnerships in space technology,” the citation for the award stated.

“As the world faced the difficult challenge of Covid-19 Pandemic, His Excellency led his nation in extending support to many countries including Bhutan by providing, amongst others, 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines. This provided an immense impetus for the successful conduct of nationwide vaccination,” it stated.

“The people of Bhutan deeply appreciate this extraordinary gesture, which reflects the noble spirit of selfless generosity of the people of India. The award honours Bhutan’s special bond with India, who is our closest neighbour and friend.”

The medal was received by Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji who is tasked to deliver it to Prime Modi personally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to respond to the news of the award.

“I am deeply touched by this warm gesture, and express my grateful thanks to His Majesty the King of Bhutan,” he said.

“I have been privileged to receive the utmost love and affection from our Bhutanese brothers and sisters, and take this occasion to convey my greetings to all of them on the auspicious occasion of the National Day of Bhutan.

“I admire Bhutan for its unique model of sustainable development and the deeply spiritual way of life. Successive Druk Gyalpos – Their Majesties the Kings – have given a unique identity to the Kingdom, and nurtured the special bond of neighbourly friendship that our nations share.

“India will always cherish Bhutan as one of its closest friends and neighbours, and we will continue to support Bhutan’s development journey in every possible way.”

Foreign Minister of India, Dr S Jaishankar also tweeted: “Delighted at this announcement by His Majesty. It reflects the deep bonds of friendship that have grown even stronger since 2014.”

Indian Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said, “We are profoundly touched by the warm and exceptional gesture of His Majesty The King in conferring Bhutan’s highest civilian honour- The Order of the Druk Gyalpo- on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.”

“As our Prime Minister has put it: ‘successive Druk Gyalpo’s have given a unique identity to the Kingdom and nurtured the special bond of neighbourly friendship that our nations share’. We cherish deeply this specially privileged relationship, and going forward, will stand resolute by Bhutan in its onward development journey,” Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said.