In an apparent snub, Bhutan has not responded to a long overdue proposal of Nepal to open its mission in Thimphu.
This is despite the fact that the then prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had himself formally proposed the offer to his Bhutanese counterpart Jigme Y Thinley during their sideline meeting at the 16th SAARC Summit in Thimphu on April 28-29, 2010.
By forwarding a formal letter to Thinley, prime minister Nepal also assured that Nepal would be happy if Bhutan reciprocates by opening its mission in Kathmandu.
“Two and a half years passed since then, but we have not received any response from the Bhutanese side,” a top official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) told The Himalayan Times.
A report prepared by the MoFA early this year has proposed to open up a residential mission in Thimphu at the soonest, referring to the multiple benefits of bilateral relations and possible areas of cooperation between the two Himalayan neighbours.
Diplomatic relations between the two South Asian landlocked Himalayan neighbours have been mostly lukewarm due to the Bhutanese refugee problems since late 1980s, when ethnic Nepali
speaking people of Bhutan were forced to leave their motherland for Nepal seeking refuge.
“Now, we have to find out new avenues to our ties, beyond the limits of the refugee problems,” Nepal told the media then in Thimphu, adding, “We can develop good relationship and better cooperation in areas of tourism, investment in infrastructure development and hydro-electricity, and share our experiences in forest conservation.”
He, however, went on to say that on normal circumstances any country should have got permission from the host country to open their embassy in another country, no matter how long they are enjoying good diplomatic relations.
The agreement of establishing diplomatic ties between Nepal and Bhutan was signed on June 3, 1983. Nevertheless, both countries have no residential mission in each other’s capitals.
The Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi concurrently looks Bhutan as well. Similarly, the Embassy of Bhutan in New Delhi is accredited for Nepal.
When THT approached for comment, Pem Seden, a senior officer of the Bhutanese Foreign Ministry, preferred not to respond to the question.
In the last two and a half years, Bhutanese PM Thinley visited Nepal twice, and Nepali PM also went to Bhutan. In all these meetings, both sides had
verbally agreed to resume dialogue on the issue of Bhutanese refugees and finding possible areas of cooperation. However, the assurances yet to see the light of the day.
Courtesy : The Himalayan Times