Sri Lanka, Bhutan Enhance Cooperation

President Maithripala Sirisena and the visiting Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay pledged to enhance bilateral cooperation and establish air links between Paro and Colombo by Druk Air, the Bhutanese national Carrier.

This agreement was made when the visiting Bhutanese PM met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday.

The two leaders agreed that Sri Lanka and Bhutan have a special relationship as the two countries are bound by common spiritual link of Buddhism.

Prime Minister Tobgay said that his country is extremely grateful to Sri Lanka for the gift of a sapling of Sri Maha Bodhi to Bhutan and it will be highly venerated and respected in his country. He said that the Bodhi sapling will be a sacred symbol of the spiritual bonds between Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

During the bilateral discussions, Tobgay thanked Sri Lanka for providing placements to Bhutanese students in Sri Lankan medical colleges and it is a great help to the improvement of the health service in his country. In response to this, President Sirisena said he would provide more seats to Bhutanese students at the Medical Faculty of the Kotalawala Defence Academy and examine the possibility of increasing the number of scholarships given to Bhutan.

President Sirisena said steps would be taken to increase cooperation in areas such as health, agriculture and tourism between the two countries.

President Sirisena praised Buhtan for adopting a democratic constitution and added that Sri Lanka too could learn from the new Bhutanese Constitution, especially at a time when Sri Lanka is attempting to further improve democratic institutions and individual freedom. The Bhutanese Premier expressed his admiration for Sri Lanka, which continues to safeguard democracy relentlessly. He added that it gives inspiration to young democracies such as Bhutan.

President Sirisena thanked Bhutan for the cooperation extended to Sri Lanka at the UN and other international bodies.

Prime Minister Tobgay congratulated President Sirisena on his electoral victory and said it reflected the enormous trust and confidence placed on him by the people of Sri Lanka.

Following the discussions, Sri Lanka and Bhutan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU seeks to establish a mechanism at the Foreign Secretaries’ level to hold consultations on an annual basis, alternately in Colombo and Thimphu and exchange views on bilateral matters and on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

In addition, the MoU provides for establishing expert and working groups for consultations of specific issues by mutual consent of the parties in case so required.

© 2019 Asian Mirror (pvt) Ltd