President, Pranab, Sonia to visit Bhutan for coronation ceremony

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New Delhi, Nov 4 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will leave for Thimpu tomorrow to be the Chief Guest at the coronation ceremony of the fifth king of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck.

Ms Patil will be accompanied by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the grand three-day-long ceremony. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi would also witness enthronement of the world's youngest head of state.

The occasion would also mark the completion of 100-year rule of the Wangchuk dynasty in the Himalayan Kingdom.

Twenty-eight-year-old Namgyal, who took over in December 2006 following the sudden abdication of his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck, would be formally enthroned after the traditional coronation ceremony.

Bhutan, which recently went to poll and has emerged as the world's youngest democracy, would receive guests from 32 countries on this occasion. The ceremony is expected to be grand and the government has declared a week-long holiday from November 6.

Jigme Khesar Namgyal and his father share the unique milestone of being the youngest monarchs of their time. Jigme Singye Wangchuck had ascended the throne at 17 years of age in 1972 and ruled the country for 34 years. Now Namgyal, who received education in United Kingdom and military training in India, would take over as the King of Himalayan Kingdom situated between India and China.

Bhutan, with which India shares very cordial relationship, is the only country in the world which quantifies its prosperity by the Gross National Happiness.

UNI AJ PK BST1832

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