Amid confusion in media, Dhaka yesterday categorically said Bhutan recognised an independent Bangladesh on December 6 in 1971.
“There is no controversy about this historical fact... Bhutan first recognised Bangladesh in 1971 and the acknowledgment came on December 6 through a wireless message,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told a press briefing at the ministry.
Recently, some of Bangladeshi media outlets reported that Bhutan's recognition came on December 6 while the others saying it came on December 7, after India recognised Bangladesh on December 6.
“It emerges from our history that Bhutan recognised first... even before Bangladesh's birth,” the secretary said. “Both India and Bhutan recognised Bangladesh on December 6 but Bhutan did it first,” he said.
This means the recognition by the two neighbours came a few hours apart, but Bhutan was the first country.
In the message of recognition, Bhutan's Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, wished Bangladeshi people success and prayed for the safety of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the secretary said.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay handed over a text of the wireless message to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on December 6, Shahidul said, adding that Bhutan had sent the message to Bangladesh's then acting president Syed Nazrul Islam.