Says New Delhi’s help would be indispensable for his country’s future growth

The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Wangchuk, on Friday appreciated India’s assistance in the socio-economic development of his country over the past century and said continued help would be “indispensable” for its future growth.

New Delhi’s helping hand, he said, had led to Bhutan evolving a political system in which democracy is now an integral part.

The King was speaking at a state banquet in his honour on the eve of Republic Day, at which he is the chief guest.

By agreeing to be the chief guest, the King bailed India out of an embarrassing position after the Sultan of Oman pulled out about a month back citing previous engagements. But the King displayed humility, thanking India for inviting him to the 64th Republic Day.

“In this moment of great happiness — I offer to you my deepest, most profound affection and goodwill. My bond with India is for life, for it arises from two loves — my love for India and, my love for Bhutan and my people,” he declared.

His officials said the King was planning to come to India in the near future and his presence was a mere advancement of that visit.

Bhutan’s success, King Jigme Khesar said, is based on the sound socio-economic development over the last six decades, for which India’s “steadfast support has been invaluable.”

Quoting his grandfather King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who was the chief guest at the 1954 Republic Day celebrations, he said: “The destiny of Bhutan is intimately bound with that of India and it is in our mutual interests to further the bonds of friendship and understanding.”

“And, many decades later, in a modernising Bhutan, my father [who was also the chief guest earlier] declared, ‘India is the cornerstone of our foreign policy.’ To these profound assertions of intimate bonds I would like to state, Indo-Bhutan friendship is indispensable for the future success of Bhutan,” he declared.

Describing India as a “great nation,” the King pointed out that India was the motherland of “our race,” and Sanskrit the mother of European languages. “She was the mother of our philosophy; mother of much of our mathematics… mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all,” he observed.

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