Bangladesh–Bhutan relations

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Bangladesh–Bhutan relations
Map indicating locations of Bangladesh and Bhutan



Bangladesh and Bhutan are regional neighbours. The Kingdom of Bhutan was the first country to recognize Bangladesh's independence.[1] Relations are strong and long-standing. In recent years, the two countries have committed to a strategic development partnership, encompassing hydropower, free trade and transport. They are common members of SAARC and BIMSTEC. Bangladesh and India are the only countries to have resident embassies in Bhutan.[2]


As the Bangladesh Liberation War approached the defeat of West Pakistani forces, the King of Bhutan sent a telegram to the Acting President of the Provisional Government of Bangladesh on the morning of 6 December 1971. Bhutan became the first state in the world to recognize the new country. It was later followed in the day by India. Below is a text of the telegram.[3]

On behalf of my Government and myself, I would like to convey to Your Excellency and the Government of Bangladesh that we have great pleasure in recognizing Bangladesh as a sovereign independent country. We are confident that the great and heroic struggle of the people of Bangladesh to achieve freedom from foreign domination will be crowned with success in the close future. My people and myself pray for the safety of your great leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and we hope that God will deliver him safely from the present peril so that he can lead your country and people in the great task of national reconstruction and progress.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
King of Bhutan
6 December 1971


Bhutan and Bangladesh signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1980, granting each other the "most favoured nation" preferential status for development of trade.[4] As of FY 2009-2010 Bangladesh's total imports Bhutan stood at USD 25 million, while its exports to Bhutan accounted for USD 3 million.[5] The agreement was renewed during the official visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed to Thimphu in 2009. In 2014, during the visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to Dhaka, Bangladesh granted duty-free access to 90 products from Bhutan.


The two countries have begun negotiations to jointly develop hydropower in the Himalayas. Bhutan has a potential to generate more than 50,000 MW of hydroelectricity, which could significantly supply the energy-starved market in Bangladesh. The 2014 SAARC Framework Agreement on electric grid integration would pave the way for energy trading in the region.


Landlocked Bhutan is keen to use Bangladeshi seaports in Chittagong, Mongla and Paira, as well as the Saidpur Airport, for the transshipment of cargo. A sub-regional transit network between Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan is under active consideration by SAARC and is being supported by the Asian Development Bank. To this effect the four countries have signed an agreement for the easy movement of Cargo, Passenger and personal vehicle movement between them.[6]

Other agreements[edit]

Bhutan and Bangladesh have actively cooperated in the field of flood control in the aftermath of severe floods in Bangladesh in 1988. Bangladesh also extended support to Bhutan following the 2009 earthquake. Bangladesh offers one scholarship to the Royal Bhutanese Army for a course at the Bangladesh Defence Services Command and Staff College. Both nations signed an air services agreement in 1986, allowing for seven weekly flights between the two nations. Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is a focus city for Druk Air.


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  2. ^ Schiavenza, Matt. "After Cuba: The Only 3 Countries That Have No Relations With the U.S.". / The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Narendra Kr. Singh (2003). Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 151–56. ISBN 978-81-261-1390-3. 
  5. ^ "Entrepreneurship lacks keeps untapped Bangladesh-Bhutan trade prospects". Ittefaq - The Nation. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Home: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal sign motor vehicles agreement". NetIndian News Network. Retrieved 2 July 2015.