Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will be on a three-day visit to Assam from Friday, the first trip by any monarch of the neighbouring country to this northeastern state, officials said.
During his visit, he will attend various programmes here and also visit Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its one-horned rhinos.
“In the annals of Assam and Bhutan’s history, there has never been an official visit by the king of Bhutan to Guwahati. Official responsibilities and geographical realities had previously led to greater interaction with the central government in New Delhi,” Dasho Tsering Wangda, vice-president of Bhutan India Friendship Association, said here on Thursday. “Against this backdrop, the king will make a historic state visit to Assam, extending the goodwill of the Bhutanese people, fortifying the friendship and demonstrating solidarity with Assam and India for their crucial role in ensuring unprecedented peace in the region,” he added.
Mentioning the friendly relations between India and Bhutan for centuries, Wangda said there was a “brief period of unease” due to insurgency problem in northeast India, with many of these outfits putting up camps inside their territory.
“It was a challenging phase as the insurgent groups posed security concerns for both countries. The leaders of the two neighbours consistently prioritised their relationship and resolved the issues with the common goal of sustained peace,” the former consul general at the Royal Bhutanese Consulate, Kolkata, added.
The current leadership of India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has further ensured sustained peace, he said.
Sharing details of the visit, the Royal Bhutanese consulate general said the king will be accompanied by his wife and two sons. “After spending the first day in Guwahati with various engagements, he will go to Kaziranga on Saturday. The king will spend a night there too and then proceed to New Delhi from Jorhat on Sunday for the next leg of India trip,” the former official of the Royal Bhutan government added.
Meanwhile, officials said the king and his entourage will arrive at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here by a special flight on Friday forenoon. He will first visit Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal hill in the city and then hold interactions with people of Bhutanese community at a city hotel, where he will also be staying. The king will be attending a dinner hosted by Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria in his honour on Friday and fly to Jorhat the next morning for Kaziranga National Park visit.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said both the countries share a unique relationship which has strengthened with the passage of time.
Sarma said the people of Assam are eagerly looking forward to welcome the king on his first visit to the state. “Bharat and Bhutan share a unique relationship which has strengthened with the passage of time. For centuries, knowledge and education have been central to this special bond”, the chief minister posted on X.
Sarma also said, “tomorrow, we in Assam, eagerly look forward to welcome His Majesty, the King of Bhutan on his first official visit to our state”. This visit will further deepen the friendship between the two countries, the chief minister added. Royal Bhutan Ambassador Major General Vetsop Namgyel had called upon the chief minister ahead of the visit of the king to the state.