Prez leaves Bhutan; appreciates concept of GNH

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Paro, Nov 8 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today appreciated the concept of Gross National happiness (GNH) being promoted by fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk and his newly crowned son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

She expressed the feeling when fourth King came to see her off at the Paro Airport. The President, who had gone to Bhutan on a four-day visit as the chief guest of the coronation ceremony of the new monarch, was very appreciative of the warm hospitality she received from the Bhutanese Royal Family and the people. She also wished the fourth King for his birthday, falling on November 11.

Ms Patil witnessed the sacred ceremony, which was deeply religious, symbolic and mystical, and open to only the members of the Royal Family, top religious leaders of the country.

Overwhelmed by the warm hospitality, the President said the coronation ceremonies at Dzong were marked by solemnity and grace, while they were colourful and full of gaiety at other places.

Ms Patil attended two banquets given in her honour by the fourth and fifth Kings yesterday and today.

The President was shown a special gesture beyond protocal as the fourth King came to the Paro Airport to send her off.

Earlier, he came to airport along with his two princess, Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley and senior government officials when the President's flight landed on November 5. She was given a ceremonial welcome and inspected the guard of honour.

The King said he did not know that the President of India was such a wonderful person. He also explained the concept of GNH, being promoted in the Himalayan Kingdom, to the President.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka and her husband Robert Wadhera, who had also come to attend the historic occasion as guests of the Royal Family, have already gone back yesterday.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who were part of the official delegation, also returned yesterday.

UNI AJ GT BST1306

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