Bhutan and Sri Lanka Hold First Annual Bilateral Consultation
16 November 2015
The first annual bilateral consultation between the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Sri Lanka, held on 16 November 2015 in Colombo, discussed cooperation in regional and multilateral forums, and air connectivity.
In a review of regional and international cooperation, the two countries highlighted the importance of membership in regional organizations, including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). Maximizing these regional frameworks, including agreements such as the Agreement on South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and the SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS), can strengthen links between both countries' Chambers of Commerce and bring huge benefits by enhancing trade and economic cooperation.
A decision was also taken to finalize a bilateral Air Services Agreement at the earliest to pave the way for air connectivity between the two countries.
This annual bilateral consultation is in follow up to the Memorandum of Understanding, signed during the visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to Sri Lanka in April 2015. It aims to enhance friendly cooperation between the two countries by increasing bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
The delegation from Bhutan was led by Mr. Tshering Dorji, Foreign Secretary of Bhutan, and included Bhutan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ms. Pema Choden, foreign ministry officials and officials from other agencies. The delegation from Sri Lanka was led by Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara, Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka, and included officials from the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Ministry of Buddhasasana, Ministry of University Education and Highways, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.