DHAKA (TIP): Bhutan and not India was the first to to recognize Bangladesh as an independent nation, foreign office has said, putting an end to the decades-old speculation on the issue. “Bhutan was the first country, there is no controversy about that,” foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque told reporters on December 9 amid fresh speculation in media here over the first foreign country to recognize Bangladesh after the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan. Haque said both Bhutan and India had recognized Bangladesh as an independent country on December 6, 1971 but Thimphu’s announcement came hours ahead of India’s official recognition. Dhaka was liberated by joint forces of India and Bangladesh on December 16 with the unconditional surrender of Pakistani troops. The clarification came as many debated over the years that Bhutan followed India’s footstep in recognizing Bangladesh as an independent country. The confusion arose afresh in mainstream and social media as Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay this week visited the country which is preparing to celebrate its 43rd Victory Day anniversary on December 16.