Bhutan rolls out red carpet for Sheikh Hasina

THIMPHU, Bhutan, April 18, 2017 (BSS) - Bhutan today rolled out a red carpet as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived here this morning on a three-day state visit when she would also join an international conference on autism.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Bangladesh Ambassador in Thimphu Jishnu Roy Choudhury received the premier at the airport where she was greeted with traditional Bhutanese "Khadhor" or scarf as part of the mountainous country after two tiny tots presented her bouquets.

A contingent of Bhutanese armed forces then offered her a ceremonial honour guard at the Paro International Airport when she took salute from a decorated dais as bugles played national anthems. The premier also inspected the guard.

A ceremonial motorcade escorted the premier from the airport to her place of residence at Le Meridien Thimphu where she was received by Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji, chairman, Royal Privy Council of Bhutan.

The people of all walks of life including schoolchildren greeted the Bangladesh premier with miniature flags of two countries standing both sides of 70 kilometre road from the airport to the Bhutanese capital.

The three-day "International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders" kicks off at the Royal Banquet Hall in Thimphu on April 19.

The Bhutanese capital was decorated with flags of Bangladesh and Bhutan and large size portraits of Sheikh Hasina and the Bhutanese King coinciding with her visit.

In the afternoon, the prime minister will be ceremonially received at Tashichhodzong, the Royal Palace. A cabinet minister and senior Bhutanese officials will welcome her at the main gate of Tashichhodzong.

Then, the prime minister will have an audience with Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema at the Royal Palace.

Later, she will hold a meeting with her Bhutanese counterpart at Gyalyong Tshogkhang while it would be followed by signing of six MoUs by the two countries on water management, hydro-power, connectivity and trade.

The prime minister will attend a banquet at Royal Banquet Hall to be hosted in her honour by the Bhutanese premier.

On Wednesday morning, Sheikh Hasina will join the opening ceremony of the "International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders" at Royal Banquet Hall as the "guest of honour".

The Bangladesh premier will attend the welcome lunch to be hosted by the Bhutanese prime minister in honour of the participants of the conference at Courtyard, Gyalyong Tshokhang.

In the afternoon, Sheikh Hasina chair the high-level discussion titled "Enabling countries to successfully address autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders as part of their Sustainable Development Goals".

Sheikh Hasina will unveil the foundation stone plaque of the Chancery of Bangladesh Embassy at Hejo. The prime minister will join a private dinner to be hosted by the Bhutanese King and Queen at Lingkana Palace.

After wrapping up her three-day visit to Bhutan, Sheikh Hasina will return home on Thursday morning.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, State Minister for Health Jahid Malek, Chairperson of Bangladesh National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Saima Wazed Hossain and senior government officials are accompanying the prime minister.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Health of Bhutan with the technical support of Shuchona Foundation (previously known as Global Autism), Ability Bhutan Society (ABS), and World Health Organization South-East Asia Regional Office are jointly organising the conference.

The theme of the conference is "Developing effective and sustainable multi-sectorial programs for individuals, families and communities living with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Apart from opening and closing ceremonies, a number of technical sessions will be held in the conference.

Government leaders, policymakers, experts and activists from around the globe will discuss strategic viewpoints to spread awareness about autism in the conference.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)