Bhutan is keen to strengthen bilateral relations with Bangladesh in various fields including business, agriculture, tourism and electricity. Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh wanted to improve connectivity with Bhutan through various ways and to increase people-to-people contacts for mutual benefit. He made this statement to journalists after calling on the Bhutanese Prime Minister, Lotay Tshering, at a city hotel. The foreign minister also said five instruments could be signed with Bhutan in various fields such as business, agriculture, tourism and training, during the visit of Prime Minister Lotay.
Greeting the Bhutanese prime minister on the eve of the Bangla New year, Momen said, following directives from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh would receive five more doctors from Bhutan under the SAARC umbrella. Now Bangladesh takes 10 doctors, he added.
Momen also mentioned that the Bhutanese prime minister and foreign minister were students at medical colleges in Bangladesh and hoped the future would be bright for the two countries and their people.
He said Bhutan also wanted to take more doctors to their country from Bangladesh. “I proposed that they take our specialist doctors under different packages. That would be beneficial for Bangladesh and helpful for Bhutan, as they need more doctors,” the minister said.
About connectivity, Momen said, “We have connectivity by rivers, roads and railway links with India, but Bhutan has stopped road connectivity under the excuse of pollution if
buses play on the roads. I have requested the prime minister to open the road connectivity in a regulated manner so that it does not create any environmental problem. If it is done, it will increase people-to-people contact.”
“About road connectivity, the Bhutanese prime minister said they were examining the issue. He is very positive in this regard,” Momen said.
“I have also told him that there would be a big airport in Saidpur in future. I requested him to direct air connectivity,” he added.
About the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative, the foreign minister said, “The business turnout of the BBIN is not good. I proposed to the Bhutanese prime minister to make the regional initiative effective.”
About electricity, he said, “I have proposed to him that Bangladesh wants hydro-electricity from Bhutan as we already take it from India. The agreement has not been finalised. I urged him to work towards a final agreement.”
Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering will have a number of meetings on Saturday. They include a call on the Bangladesh President, Md Abdul Hamid, a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and meetings with the health minister and shipping minister, who will call on him. Later, in the day, he will attend a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
On Sunday, Lotay will attend a cultural event organised by Surer Dhara as part of the Bangla New Year celebrations at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. He will also visit the Mymensingh Medical College, where he studied, and later in the day would meet the commerce minister, who would call on him. Lotay would leave Dhaka on April 15.