The queen mother of Bhutan, Wangmo Wangchuk, said that Buddhism is one of India's largest gifts given to Bhutan. She called India "the land of the enlightened people". On Thursday, she was addressing the inaugural function of the ninth session of Wangchuk "Mountain Ecos" Literature Festival. It has been organized on the occasion of completion of 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In her address, she recalled former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away late last week, as a beloved friend of Bhutan. She said that after the arrival of Buddhism, many Buddhists of India, including the most famous Guru Padmasambhava, came to visit Bhutan. The teachings of Lord Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava have been continuously motivating the lives of every citizen of Bhutan.
Wangchuk said that she believes that Buddhism is our shared spiritual heritage which remains unchanged without any change in our old relations. She said that the rich heritage of shared cultural and historical heritage is stronger and stronger between India and Bhutan.
The queen said, "It is a matter of great satisfaction and happiness for the people of Bhutan and India that there is great and extraordinary friendship between the two countries, such friendships, which include immense faith, goodwill, understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation."
She remembered the time when Bhutan's Third King and Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundations of Indo-Bhutan relations. After Nehru's visit, Bhutan implemented the first five-year plan in 1961. India provided financial assistance to Bhutan for the first and second five-year plans.