Israel and Germany are the latest countries to establish formal diplomatic ties with Kingdom of Bhutan
On 12th December 2020, Kingdom of Bhutan signed an agreement with Israel to establish formal relations. The Notes Verbale were exchanged between Major General Vetsop Namgyel, Ambassador of Bhutan to India, and Dr. Ron Malka, Ambassador of Israel to India at the Embassy of the State of Israel in New Delhi.
During the ceremony, the two Ambassadors recognized the growing engagements between Bhutan and Israel and welcomed the agreement. According to a joint statement, the agreement will “open the path to greater cooperation and further strengthen relations” between both countries.
“The establishment of diplomatic relations will create new avenues for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural sciences and other areas of mutual benefit,” it said.
It added that “the ties between the peoples through cultural exchanges and tourism would also be further enhanced”. They reiterated the shared desire to further strengthen bilateral cooperation to the benefit of both countries.
Following the ceremony Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Lyonpo Dr.Tandi Dorji of the Kingdom of Bhutan, and Gabi Ashkenazi of the State of Israel sent mutual congratulations.
Despite the lack of formal ties, both countries have always maintained cordial relations. Since 1982, Israel has supported Bhutanese “human resource development, especially in the area of agriculture development that has benefited hundreds of Bhutanese youths”, according to the statement.
Prior to the latest formation of diplomatic ties with Israel, Bhutan also signed agreement to establish formal relations with Germany recently. The exchange of Note Verbales took place between Ambassador of Bhutan Maj. Gen. Vestop Namgyel and Ambassador of Germany Walter Lindner, at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi on 25th November 2020.
“We are aware that the two countries already established consular relations in July 2000. Germany is an important development partner of Bhutan. This is a further step on that path,” said official sources in New Delhi.
Before the establishment of ties, official bilateral ties were maintained through the Germany embassy in Delhi and Bhutanese embassy in Brussels.
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.
In addition to the European Union, Bhutan currently has diplomatic relations with 54 countries including these two latest addition of Germany and Israel.