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For President Mukherjee, Bhutan breaks protocol

November 07, 2014 21:46 IST

India on Friday said Bhutan and its security is “intricately interlinked” and it is important for the two neighbours to be sensitive to each other’s concerns, as President Pranab Mukherjee held wide-ranging talks with the Bhutanese leadership.

Pranab Mukherjee being welcomed by the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the Bhutan Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck on his arrival at Paro International Airport, Bhutan. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

Breaking protocol, Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife received President Mukherjee at the ParoAirport as he arrived in Bhutan for a two-day visit, the first by an Indian head of state to the country in 26 years.

Mukherjee then travelled by road to Thimphu as hundreds of school children were lined up along the way, holding Indian and Bhutanese flag.

Mukherjee was given a ceremonial guard of honour at Tashichhoedzong, a Buddhist monastery and fortress which has traditionally been the seat of the head of Bhutan’s civil government located on the northern edge of Thimphu.

Later in the day, Mukherjee held talks with the King and then Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

Pranab Mukherjee eceiving the Guard of Honour, at the ceremonial reception, at Tashichhodzong Palace, in Thimphu. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

“They covered an entire gamut of bilateral relations. The President noted that there is perfect understanding of each other’s concerns and sensitivities,” press secretary to the President Venu Rajamony said.

In his meeting with Prime Minister Tobgay, Mukherjee said, “My state visit is to recognise and symbolise the actual relations between India and Bhutan.”

President Pranab Mukherjee along with his delegation members meeting with King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck at Tashichhodzong in Thimphu. Photograph: Rashtrapati Bhavan

“He (Mukherjee) also stressed the importance of being sensitive to each other’s security concerns and doing anything that could endanger the security interest of the other,” Rajamony said.

Emphasising the importance of bilateral ties, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said, “The fact that President Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bhutan within five months is a very clear indication of the high importance attached by India to Bhutan as a friend, as a neighbour and as a partner in its effort to transform the South Asian region for the welfare of our people and the people of our larger region.” 

Sanjeev Chopra
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