Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering on Sunday highly appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's leadership, saying Bangladesh is making an impressive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Bangladesh is always very close to my heart," said the Bhutanese Prime Minister, expressing his desire to deepen friendship and cooperation with Bangladesh.
He was addressing the signing ceremony of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Bangladesh and Bhutan virtually marking the 50th year of the recognition of Bangladesh by Bhutan.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined virtually from Dhaka.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji, Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Lonath Sharma and senior officials including the Foreign and Commerce Secretaries of Bangladesh joined.
The Bhutanese Prime Minister said despite multiple challenges, Prime Minister Hasina successfully carried forward the vision and legacy of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"People of Bangladesh will remember you forever," Dr Tshering said.
The Bhutanese Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Hasina for successfully handling the coronavirus situation in Bangladesh. "We can see Bangladesh is making a very impressive economic recovery from the pandemic."
The Bhutanese Prime Minister said the historic occasion came when Bangladesh is celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh's independence to be celebrated next year. "I feel fortunate to be part of the history."
He said he spent seven years in Mymensingh Medical College and three years in Dhaka and during the period, Bangladesh became his second home.
"We all know the contributions and sacrifices that you (Hasina), your family and many others who joined today [made]," said the Bhutanese Prime Minister.
He said today is a very significant day and he is very happy to talk to Prime Minister Hasina earlier in the morning.
"Thank you for your motherly affection to me and for the relations of our two countries," said the Bhutanese Prime Minister.
He thanked Prime Minister Hasina for extending support to Bhutan always and put emphasis on further strengthening it.
The Bhutanese Prime Minister hoped that the rest of the formalities of the signed PTA will be completed soon.
He said the agreement will help strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
Bhutan was the first country to recognise the independence of Bangladesh on December 6, 1971.
Since Bhutan's recognition, the bilateral relations between Bhutan and Bangladesh have grown and is today anchored on goodwill, friendship, understanding and cooperation.
The two countries will also be organising a series of events throughout the coming year to commemorate the special occasion.
With the signing of the PTA, Bhutan will enjoy duty-free export of 16 products, in addition to the already existing 18 products to Bangladesh.
Likewise, 10 more products from Bangladesh will enjoy duty-free export to Bhutan, in addition to the already 90 existing products.
Currently, Bangladesh-Bhutan trade operates under the Bilateral Trade Agreement signed in 1980.