Bhutan King chief guest at Republic Day parade



New Delhi: Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was the Chief Guest at the 64th Republic Day Celebrations here on Saturday becoming the third emperor from the tiny kingdom to grace the event, signifying the importance that India attaches to its neighbour.

The Oxford-educated 32-year-old Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema, who did her schooling in Himachal Pradesh, are visiting India for the second time in the past two years.

The young king, who is known for inviting his subjects for tea at his palace in the picturesque Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, shares the honour of being the Chief Guest with his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck and grandfather Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

While Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who abdicated the throne in 2006 in favour of his son, had the honour of being the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations twice in 1984 and 2005, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck received the honour in 1954.

Wangchuck came to Rajpath along with President Pranab Mukherjee escorted by horse-mounted presidential bodyguards.

The King, who married his girlfriend Pema in October 2011, was received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the VVIP enclosure at the Rajpath following which he greeted him with a "Namaste".

Wangchuck, who attended the National Defence College in the capital, is well-versed with Hindi and is adored by his subjects for his simplistic nature.

PTI