Bhutan German diplomatic relations established

Bhutan has now established formal diplomatic relations with Germany – the power centre of the Europe. European union is the major partner for Bhutan’s development. 

This has increased the number of countries with which Bhutan has diplomatic relations to 53 and EU. The move was announced at an “Exchange of Verbal Notes ceremony” in Delhi by Bhutan’s Ambassador to India Major General Vetsop Namgyel and Germany’s Ambassador Walter Lindner. The German Foreign Office describe the occasion as a “special day” and a “rare” event.

“With the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two Ambassadors expressed the desire to further deepen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries,” said the Bhutanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In an article on its website, the German Federal Foreign office credited Bhutan’s current Prime Minister with the decision. “The government of Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering, in office since November 2018, has continued to cautiously open up the country — leading to the decision to establish diplomatic relations with Germany,” the release said, adding that Germany did not plan to set up an Embassy in Thimphu at present, and would conduct its relations through its Embassy in Delhi. Bhutan and Germany also maintain Honorary Consulates in each other’s capitals since 2000.

Germany, which has been pursuing full relations with Bhutan for several years now, is one of the biggest and most powerful countries outside of the UNSC to have established ties with Thimphu. Since 1949, when Bhutan first signed a friendship agreement with India, which kept the two countries closely engaged on all foreign policy issues, Bhutan has been historically cautious about establishing ties with other countries.

Last time Bhutan extended its diplomatic relations was in March 2013 when it established relations with Oman. The first elected government of DPT rapidly increased Bhutan’s diplomatic forays. Prior to this, Bhutan had maintained relations only with 22 countries. 

“Even in the absence of diplomatic relations, Germany had been supporting Bhutan’s socio-economic development since the 1970s. More significantly, Bhutan continues to receive support from the European Union of which Germany is the largest contributor to the Union’s budget. People-to-people contacts between Bhutan and Germany have also increased over the years,” the Bhutanese MFA said in its statement. Germany has also supported a partnership with the National Library of Bhutan to preserve its collection of traditional and ancient Bhutanese manuscripts, since 2019.

India welcomed Bhutan’s decision to establish formal diplomatic relations with the European powerhouse. 

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