When they start their India tour on Monday,Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and queen Jetsun Pema will become the first guests after two decades to stay at the newly refurbished Dwarka Suite at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The practice was discontinued in the 1980s when visiting dignitaries started staying in 5-star hotels primarily because of privacy and security concerns.
The royal couple will be in India from January 6-10. The delegation will include Bhutans foreign minister,home minister and economic affairs minister. While in India,the king will meet the president,vice-president,PM and chairperson of UPA among others.
Rashtrapati Bhavans guest wing,which has 14 suites,remained shut for years before Pranab Mukherjee became President. After he took over,Mukherjee expressed a wish to re-start the practice of visiting dignitaries staying there. In fact,when Prince Charles visited India in November,Mukherjee reportedly told him that in his next visit,he should stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Dwarka Suite had been refurbished in time for the visit of the Japans Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko last month but the couple did not stay there.