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President Pranab Mukherjee hails 'most memorable' Bhutan visit

PTI 08 Nov 2014, 20:23:02 PM IST

Thimphu: Terming his just-concluded state visit to Bhutan as very successful and his "most memorable", President Pranab Mukherjee today hoped that bilateral relations between the two countries would continue to grow from strength to strength.

"I was delighted to be in Bhutan - the abode of happiness. I have travelled many times to Bhutan in different capacities and my association with this beautiful country dates back to the early 80s when I began my public career. Through these past decades, I have always worked for stronger, enhanced relations between our two countries. I am privileged to be a friend of Bhutan," Mukherjee said.

The president was given a warm send-off at the Paro airport by Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife, as he departed after his two-day visit, the first by an Indian head of state to the Himalayan kingdom in 26 years.

"I was deeply touched by the warmth of the reception I received and am happy to see a festive atmosphere across the country. I am impressed by the remarkable progress of Bhutan in improving the quality of life of its people while preserving its cultural identity," he said.

"The main purpose of my visit was to strengthen our multi faceted relations and consolidate our ties. In keeping with our longstanding historical and civilisational linkages and strengthening people-to-people contacts, we have extremely close ties based on shared values as well as commonality of interests and objectives," he said.

"I discussed all issues of mutual interest, including those of bilateral and regional importance with the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

"Our mutual security interests are closely intertwined. Our border security cooperation in the past has been excellent. Both sides have reiterated their determination not to allow their territory to be used by interests inimical to the other.

"India is proud to be a privileged partner in Bhutan's advancement and growth. I am happy that our assistance is being effectively utilised in important sectors like education, roads and bridges, agriculture, health, cultural preservation and hydropower," Mukherjee said.