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From a private dinner given by the King to being conferred with the country’s highest civilian honour, Bhutan’s three special gestures have become a key highlight during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Himalayan nation.

In one of the gestures, it is for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister is hosted at K5 Residence Lingkana Palace. Moreover, no Indian PM has been given a private dinner by Bhutan’s King before, however, PM Modi is being given this privilege.

It is also for the first time that an Indian PM is being given the highest civilian award by Bhutan. In fact, PM Modi is the first foreign national to be given this Bhutanese award.

As per ranking and precedence established, the ‘Order of the Druk Gyalpo’ was instituted as the decoration for lifetime achievement and is the pinnacle of the honour system in Bhutan, taking precedence over all orders, decorations and medals. Since its institution, the award has been conferred upon only four eminent personalities.

Previous recipients of the award include Royal Queen Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck in 2008; Je Thrizur Tenzin Dendup (68th Je Khenpo of Bhutan) in 2008 and Je Khenpo Trulku Ngawang Jigme Choedra in 2018. Je Khenpo is the Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan.

The highest civilian honour of Bhutan has been conferred on PM Modi for his “outstanding embodiment of national, regional, and global leadership” and for how India has become the fastest growing economy in the world.

PM Modi thanked Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck for conferring on him the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, the highest honour of the Himalayan country. He is the first foreign Head of Government to receive honour.

In his address at Tendrelthang Festival Ground in Thimphu, he said, “Today is a big day in my life as an Indian. You have honoured me with Bhutan’s highest national award. Every award is special in itself, but when an award is received from another country, it strengthens the confidence that both our countries are moving in the right direction.”

“This honour is not my personal achievement. It is the honour of India and 140 crore Indians. I humbly accept this honour on behalf of all Indians in this great land of Bhutan and thank you all from the bottom of my heart for this honour,” he added.

In an unprecedented welcome for PM Modi in Bhutan, people lined up the streets across the entire stretch of 45 kilometers from Paro to Thimphu. Hundreds of locals awaited Prime Minister Modi’s arrival at the palace.

PM Modi also interacted with the members of the Indian diaspora and the local people of Bhutan who gathered to welcome him outside the Hotel in Thimphu. The members of the Indian community expressed their happiness on meeting PM Modi.