(Dec.16)The King of Bhutan,Jigme Khesar, will pay a special 5-day official visit to one of their giant neighbors, India, from December 21 to 26 at the invitation of Pratibha D Patil, the Indian president.This is his first state visit to India ever since he began his unusual reign as the fifth king of this tiny Buddhist nation on Dec.14,2006.
The king will be accompanied by foreign minister Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering and economic affairs minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, reporters and a few senior government officials.During the visit, the team will meet and hold talks with President Patil, prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, foreign minister S M Krishna and other high level government officials and senior leaders.
On the second day, the king is scheduled to Inaugurate a photo exhibition on Bhutan called Bhutan-an Eye to History to be presented by the Indo-Bhutan Foundation and National Gallery of Modern Art. This exhibition features a rare, never seen before collection of photographs highlighting friendship and co-operation between India and Bhutan, since a long time ago. Besides, it also showcases the Photographic works of the king himself.
The Bhutanese Foreign Ministry has said that this visit will be a milestone towards promoting goodwill, understanding and developing a sense of mutual cooperation between these two south Asian neighbors. Its press release further reads,“It will be an occasion for His Majesty to convey the deep appreciation of the government and people of Bhutan for the generous support, assistance and cooperation extended by the government and people of India to Bhutan.”
However, both Bhutanese media and the government bodies seem numb as to whether the king, during his visit, would also discuss with the Indian leaders about the long festering Bhutanese refugee crisis.
Interestingly, the former king, Jigme Singye Wanchuck during his six-day visit to India, perhaps his last official visit in his tediously long reign, on 26th January,2005 had reiterated his old version saying Majority of the refugees in Nepal are not Bhutanese citizens, despite big expectation of the refugees that his visit then would find logical end to this decades long political crisis.