Dhaka committed to taking ties with Thimphu to new height: FM


Dhaka, Dec 06: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday shared Bangladesh’s commitment to carry forward its relations with Bhutan to a new height after the two countries opened a new chapter by signing the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA).

“Signing this landmark PTA does not only emphasise our common priority of economic development, but also symbolises our mutual commitment to carry forward our bilateral relations to a new height,” he said.

Dr Momen said the two countries might have different ways and means but share a common goal – economic prosperity and social development.

He was addressing the signing ceremony of PTA from Bangladesh Foreign Service Academy when Bangladesh and Bhutan celebrate 50 years of relationship.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Bhutanese counterpart Dr Lotay Tshering joined the significant event virtually.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji, Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Lonath Sharma and senior officials including the Foreign and Commerce Secretaries of Bangladesh also joined.

Dr Momen said they also revived history by choosing the date of December 6 for this programme, the very day when Bhutan, as the first foreign country, recognised Bangladesh in 1971 as an Independent and sovereign country.

“We proudly recall that our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman maintained excellent relations with the King of Bhutan Jigme Singe Wangchuk. Today, it is our humble attempt to reminisce their legacy, their vision and teachings,” he said paying rich tribute to great and visionary forefathers.

Dr Momen said under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Dr Lotay Tshering, the two countries have reached a level of cooperation which is admired by all.

“Our vibrant political relations are reinforced by our personal connections and emotional touch,” he said.

The Foreign Minister conveyed his deep respect and gratitude to Prime Minister Dr Tshering and Tandi Dorji, Foreign Minister of Bhutan, for their kind message of sympathy, when he suffered from COVID-19 a few days back.

Dr Momen said Bangladesh and Bhutan share a wide range of bilateral relations. “We exchange high level bilateral visits, share robust trade relations, and cooperate on many areas including education, health, shipping, ICT and agriculture sector.”

He also said, “We also aspire to enhance our regional and sub regional cooperation for greater connectivity in the region.”

Dr Momen said he is hopeful that the two countries would fully utilise the scope of the agreement signed today.

He invited the business communities of both countries to take advantages of this PTA.

“This agreement will also help bilateral trade to further flourish by making use of the links through waterways being provided by Bangladesh to Bhutan,” he said.