Cooperation in inland waterways, health, agriculture in focus
Bangladesh and Bhutan are expected to sign a number of bilateral instruments during Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s visit to Bangladesh in the second week of April to take the relations to a new height.
The bilateral instruments, to be signed, are cooperation on inland waterways for cargo transportation, cooperation in health and agriculture sectors and cooperation between the Public Administration Training Centers of the two countries for exchange of faculty members as well as training and capacity building.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque came up with the disclosure after the second Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between Bangladesh and Bhutan held at the State Guest House Meghna in the city on March 19.
The talks laid the ground for the visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh highlighted the successful visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Bhutan in 2017 which further deepened the existing cooperation and prospects for collaboration.
During the talks with Bhutanese Foreign Secretary Sonam Tshong, Shahidul Haque discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations.
Both sides took stock of the progress in the ongoing bilateral cooperation, including in the areas of power, trade and investment, education, tourism, human resources development, science and technology, agriculture, food security, water resources management, climate change and people-to-people contact.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque who led a 19-member delegation drawn from the various ministries and departments of the government said that the second FOC will help intensify bilateral cooperation further between the two countries.
At the outset of the talks, he recalled the special relationship that Bangladesh and Bhutan share since 1971 when Bhutan became the first country to recognise the newly independent Bangladesh.
Apart from bilateral issues, the two sides also discussed cooperative frameworks on transit and connectivity, especially under the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) framework which Bangladesh believes is “crucial” for the future development of the sub-region.
Trilateral cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India in the field of hydroelectric power was also discussed, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the talks, Bhutan showed keen interest to recruit Bangladeshi doctors to work in Bhutan.
The Bhutanese Foreign Secretary expressed his happiness over holding the FOC which holds special significance in light of the forthcoming visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister to Bangladesh.
He highlighted that Bangladesh holds a special place for the Prime Minister of Bhutan since he is an alumnus of Mymensingh Medical College.
He mentioned that Bhutan is highly optimistic about realising full potential of cooperation with Bangladesh as well as exploring new areas of collaboration.