PM offers economic zone to Bhutan for mutual benefits
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered Bhutan a scope to build an economic zone in Bangladesh for mutual benefits during a meeting in London with Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.
"We're establishing economic zones in Bangladesh. You can build an economic zone in our country," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen quoted her as saying in a news briefing after the meeting on Saturday (local time).
Earlier, the Bangladesh premier and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana received the Bhutanese king and queen upon their arrival at The Claridge Hotel.
The Bangladesh premier said Bangladesh has already provided economic zones to India, Japan and South Korea.
"If you want, we can give you an economic zone in Kurigram," she said.
Sheikh Hasina made the offer when the Bhutanese king said they wanted to build an administrative economic zone in his country keeping the environment unharmed.
The Bangladesh foreign minister said Bhutan does not want to endanger their country environmentally as their country was a happy one.
The prime minister said Bangladesh has been developing communication with neighbours through all possible modes, including railways.
"Bangladesh is a connectivity hub. Bhutan can use Bangladesh's two ports and the Syedpur international airport," she said.
The Bhutanese king and queen praised the economic advancement of Bangladesh under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.
The Bhutanese king expressed his desire to get direct transit to Bangladesh through India.
The Bangladesh premier welcomed Bhutan's eagerness, saying, "If necessary, we will talk to India over the matter."
The Bhutanese king said his country's prime minister and foreign minister have a special attachment with Bangladesh as both of them studied in Bangladesh.
He said both the premier and foreign minister of Bhutan wanted to visit Bangladesh privately.
To this end, Sheikh Hasina said, "My door is open for your people."
During the 50-minute meeting, they also discussed various family affairs and the Bhutanese king and queen spoke as if the prime minister was their maternal aunt, said the Bangladesh foreign minister.
PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, PM's Principal Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, PM's Speechwriter M Nazrul Islam and Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem, among others, were present at the meeting.