Tel Aviv, MINA – Israel and Bhutan announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two countries on Saturday. The agreement will pave the way for greater cooperation.
“This agreement will further strengthen the relationship between Israel and the kingdom of South Asia,” a joint statement from the two countries was quoted from Aljazeera.
Israel’s new relationship with the relatively isolated Himalayan state appears unrelated to the relationship developed under the United States brokered agreement with Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the agreement followed several years of secret contact between Israel and Bhutan with the aim of building relations.
“The circle of Israeli recognition is growing and expanding,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
“The establishment of relations between us and the Kingdom of Bhutan will be an important milestone in deepening Israeli relations in Asia,” he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the agreement. “It (the agreement) is an additional fruit of the peace agreement,” he said on his official Twitter.
According to him, Israel has been in contact with more countries to normalize relations. A signing ceremony was held between the Israeli and Bhutanese ambassadors for India on Saturday. Countries agree to formulate joint work plans in the fields of water management, agriculture, health care and other fields.
Israel’s Ambassador to India, Ron Malka, called the agreement a historic day for his country. “This agreement will open up more opportunities for cooperation in the interests of our two nations,” Malka said on Twitter.
The uploaded photos show officials from both countries signing documents and shaking hands. Saturday’s announcement also comes days after Morocco agreed to normalize relations with Israel, the fourth Arab country to enter into a deal since August.
The remote kingdom of Bhutan, a country of less than a million people, is sandwiched between giant neighbors China and India. The country is famous for its Gross National Happiness index, which refers to happiness rather than economic growth.
Bhutan has tried to protect its own country from the negative side of globalization, striving for Gross National Happiness over growing gross domestic product (GDP), sustaining a carbon negative economy, and suppressing tourist numbers at a daily fee of US $ 250 per visitor in the holiday season.
Although Bhutan is proud of its cultural and political independence, it also has diplomatic relations with about 50 countries. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)