International

Israel and Bhutan establish diplomatic ties

The Israeli and Bhutanese Ambassadors to India pose for a photo during a signing ceremony for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Bhutan, in the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi on December 12, 2020. Photo: Special arrangement  

Bhutan and Israel established formal ties on December 12, with a formal ceremony in New Delhi where the Ambassadors of these countries to India exchanged agreements.

The move follows a flurry of diplomatic activity in both countries in the past few weeks. In deals brokered by the United States, Israel has established full relations with the United Arab Emirates(UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in the last two months, while Bhutan established ties with Germany, its first new formal relationship since 2013. With the announcement, Bhutan, which does not have ties with any permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) member, has taken the restricted number of diplomatic relations to 54 countries and the European Union.

“The establishment of diplomatic relations would not only build upon the existing close ties but open the path to greater cooperation and further strengthen relations between the two countries and peoples,” said a joint statement, adding that Notes Verbale were exchanged between Bhutanese Ambassador Major General Vetsop Namgyel and Israeli Ambassador Ron Malika.

“The circle of those who recognize Israel is growing... This is a milestone in Israel’s deepening ties with Asia,” tweeted Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Mr. Ashkenazi said the decision to establish ties had been made after years of “secret contacts” and finalised during a call between him and Bhutanese Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji a week before. The two sides will not be setting up embassies in Thimphu and Tel Aviv however, and will coordinate through their missions in Delhi.

While Israel and Bhutan have not had formal ties, the two sides cooperate on development activities and agricultural training and Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation MASHAV has trained hundred of Bhutanese youth since 2013.

In 2016, Israel invited Bhutan’s Agriculture and Forestry minister Yeshey Dorji, and in 2017, Bhutan had invited the Israel Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General of the Asia Pacific division Gilad Cohen, the highest ranking officials to visit each other’s countries thus far.

“The establishment of diplomatic relations would create new avenues for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural sciences and other areas of mutual benefit,” the joint statement said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 3:35:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/israel-and-bhutan-establish-diplomatic-ties/article33318464.ece

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