Bhutan king, queen to begin India visit Jan 6

New Delhi, Jan 4: Beginning a five-day visit to India Jan 6, Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema have been invited by President Pranab Mukherjee to stay at the renovated Dwarka suite in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Bhutan king, 32, an Oxford graduate, is the first foreign head of state invited to stay at the renovated Dwarka suite in about two decades, an official statement said.

The king’s delegation includes the foreign minister, home minister and economic affairs minister.

While in India, the king will also meet Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior ministers including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.

National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh will calling on the king.

The unique relations between India and Bhutan are characterized by close friendship, deep understanding and mutual trust. The visit of the king will contribute to further strengthening and expanding the close bilateral relations between the two countries, the statement said.

The king was the chief guest at last year’s Republic Day Parade

Bhutan held its first democratic parliamentary election on March 24, 2008.

IANS