Bhutan, PDP and India-Bhutan Relations

India-Bhutan

  • Full name: Kingdom of Bhutan
  • Population: 750,000 (UN, 2012)
  • Capital and largest city: Thimphu
  • Major language: Dzongkha (official)
  • Major religions: Buddhism (official), Hinduism
  • Monetary unit: 1 ngultrum = 100 chetrum
  • The Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) is the Head of State
  • Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk is the 5th Druk Gyalpo
  •  Our PM today congratulated the People’s Democratic Party for winning their second ever parliamentary elections
  • He reaffirmed our support for the “steady steps that Bhutan is taking to further strengthen democratic processes and institutions”
  • Dr. Singh said he has already given instruction to officials for preparing the roadmap for plan assistance to Bhutan and that he look forward to working with Mr. Togbay to further enhance the cooperation between the two countries.
  • The country has been a democracy since 2008, when the king voluntarily relinquished his absolute power.
  • The PDP beat the ruling Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party, which has strong links to the king.
  • The PDP had criticised the government for a recent deterioration of ties with India, a key ally.
  • India’s recent massive reduction of oil and gas subsidies for Bhutan has sparked speculation that this may be because of the Himalayan country’s improving relations with China.
  • PDP President Tshering Tobgay is expected to be the new Prime Minister succeeding DPT’s Jigmi Y Thinley, whose meeting with then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of an Environment Summit in Brazil last year had raised eyebrows in India.
  • PDP had also built a campaign around exposing what he described as “the DPT’s hollow claims on Gross National Happiness” aimed more at an international audience which, he alleged, did not deliver tangible benefits to people.

India-Bhutan Relations 

  • India–Bhutan relations continue to follow a positive trajectory and over the past few years bilateral relations have evolved into a comprehensive partnership encompassing a wide range of issue areas.
  • Hydro-power tops the list in development cooperation
  • Information and intelligence sharing along with hot pursuit of North East militant groups trying to establish bases in Southern Bhutan

Operation All Clear

During the early 90s, the Indian Separatist groups United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) had begun to clandestinely set up camps in Bhutan’s dense southern jungles. These camps were used to train cadres, store equipment, and launch attacks on targets in India. The Bhutanese government became aware of their presence in 1996 and from 1997, the issue was regularly discussed in the National Assembly. The Government of India began exerting diplomatic pressure on the Royal Government to remove the militant presence and offered conducting joint military operations against the militants. The Royal Government preferring a peaceful solution, declined the offer and instead initiated dialogue with the militant groups in 1998. By December 2003, negotiations failed to produce any agreement and the Royal Government unable to tolerate their presence any longer issued a 48-hour ultimatum on 13 December. On 15 December the RBA commenced military operations against the militant groups.

A combined RBA and RBG force of 6,000, it’s total strength, attacked an estimated 3,000 militants spread across 30 militant camps. By 27 December 2003, all 30 militant camps had been captured.

 

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