His Majesty the King of Bhutan graced the 64th Indian Republic Day Celebrations in Delhi as the Chief Guest. The President of India hosted a State Banquet in His Majesty’s honour on the eve of the Republic Day. The following is the Banquet Speech by His Majesty.
Your Excellency, President of India,
Your Excellency, Prime Minister,
It is with immense joy that I stand here today among great friends in a nation that we all love – and with pride and honor, that I represent Bhutan at the Republic Day of India. On this most auspicious occasion, I bring with me the good wishes and prayers of my father, the Government and People of Bhutan.
Your Excellencies, Bhutan has been on an extraordinary journey. For one hundred years of monarchy we nurtured the dream of democracy. And today, after such sacrifice and dedication – upon the culmination of so many achievements, I am proud to be King of a young, democratic Bhutan that is on the cusp of even greater success and accomplishment. Your Excellencies, this journey of modern Bhutan was not travelled alone. From the moment of immense joy that was India’s Independence Day of 1947, it has been a journey travelled by India and Bhutan, together.
Bhutan’s success is founded upon the sound socio-economic development over the last six decades, for which India’s steadfast support has been invaluable. The confidence and stature we enjoy as a unique nation today were born from the hard work of generations of Bhutanese, complemented by the extraordinary friendship we have with India. India will always hold a special place in our hearts.
My grandfather said, “The destiny of Bhutan is intimately bound with that of India and it is in our mutual interests to further the bonds of friendship and understanding.” And, many decades later, in a modernizing Bhutan, my father declared, “India is the cornerstone of our foreign policy”. To these profound assertions of intimate bonds I would like to state, “Indo-Bhutan Friendship is indispensible for the future success of Bhutan.”
Today, as we look ahead, we see a long journey – not without its challenges – but nevertheless, a journey whose road will be paved with geopolitical and historical foundations; borne on the spirit of trust, interdependence and constancy, but above all, a journey defined by India and Bhutan, together.
India is truly a great nation. As a historian and philosopher once said, “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, … of much of our mathematics; … mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”
Your Excellencies – India is the reservoir of the world’s greatest religions; the cradle of great thinkers and leaders; the home of almost 20% of humanity; the guardian of more than half a billion citizens under 20 and the fertile ground for great young talent and discovery – all flourishing under the world’s largest democracy. Your Excellencies, Bhutan is proud to be your neighbour and closest friend.
I thank you, Your Excellency, for the great honor to my People and Nation, of being invited to the 64th Republic Day. In this moment of great happiness – I offer to you my deepest, most profound affection and goodwill. My bond with India is for life – for it arises from two loves – my love for India and, my love for Bhutan and my People.
It is, therefore, with immense joy that Jetsun and I, raise a toast on this momentous occasion – to the good health and happiness of Your Excellency the President of India; to the steadfast loyalty, trust and faith that define Indo-Bhutan Friendship and to the great nation of India!
Tashi Delek! And Jai Hind!