President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday delivered a strong message to Pakistan, referring to Bhutan’s efforts to flush out terror elements from its territory and the neighbouring nation’s unique tryst with democracy.
Arriving to a rousing reception (King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck surprised all and received Mukherjee at airport), Mukherjee held a 45-minute meeting with the King later where they covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations.
In the meeting, as Mukherjee recalled the Bhutan leadership’s role in flushing out extremists of NE India in 2003, President said this action should be an example to all SAARC countries. Observers see it as a clear reference to Pakistan who had time and again failed to stop home-grown terror activities, failing to act over international concern.
Bhutan does not indulge in terrorism, does not believe in cross-border terrorism and will make every effort to control and prevent it, the President added.
Mukherjee’s missive to Pakistan comes amid the Narendra Modi government’s strong line on the troublesome neighbor. A few months ago, India had earlier called off dialogues with Pakistan over the latter’s reach out to the Hurriyat. New Delhi also appropriately countered the Pak firing at the LoC and warned Pakistan of its consequences.
As Bhutan authorities signed a MoU with Nalanda University to promote education, Foreign secretary Sujata Singh said, “Nalanda is very important project not just for Bhutan but for the world. It is going to focus on several issues like environmental studies which are relevant for Bhutan.”
While hydro-power remains the key area of cooperation between India and Bhutan, the President’s visit also dwelled on other areas of institution building.