Bhutan-India Relations: Why Bhutan is important for India?

by Hiten Ghosh
Bhutan-India Relations: Why Bhutan is important for India?

Bhutan is a landlocked and mountainous country. India has had solid relations throughout historical times. It is known from archaeological evidence that Bhutan was probably in B.C. Was settled in 2000. Buddhism probably came here in the second century.

In the 16th century, several clans and families ruled in different valleys of Bhutan. They used to fight with each other and with Tibet. This situation changed when Ngawang-Namgyal arrived in 1616 AD. He was a Drukpa (Ktanachan) Buddhist monk from Tibet.

The entire region and established himself as the religious ruler of Bhutan with the title of Shabdrung Rimpoche. They defeated rival lamas and Tibetan forces in battle and transformed the southern valley into a unified country called Duke Yul (Land of the Thunder äagon).

Bhutan is also called ‘Duk Yul’. He established the Drukpa Kagyu, a single-state religion for all the people of Bhutan. The political system established lasted only till the beginning of the twentieth century. After the announcement of Shabdrung’s death in 1705 AD, internal conflicts and political rivalry continued for 200 years. At the same time, there was a struggle going on between the rulers of Tibet and Cooch Behar. The British (East India Company) jumped in the middle of the ongoing conflict between Cooch Behar and Bhutan and later fought a few battles with Bhutan and annexed some of Bhutan’s territory.

This instability continued until 1907 when Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously elected as the hereditary ruler of Bhutan by the Chief Lamas of Bhutan. He was recognized as such by the British Government of India. Hence the coronation of the first king took place in 1907. And since then the Vagchuk dynasty has started. For the next four decades, he and his successor, Maharaja Jigme Wangchuck, kept all of Bhutan under direct monarchical control. At the time of independence in 1947, India recognized Bhutan as a sovereign country. India also returned about 82 square kilometers of territory bordering Bhutan that had been annexed by the British.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third Maharaja of Bhutan, is considered the father of modern Bhutan as he initiated many development schemes. Bhutan was formally admitted to the United Nations in 1971. The coronation of the fourth Maharaja Jigme Singye Wangchuk took place in July 1972. Continued with a ‘controlled development policy’ particularly focused on preserving Bhutan’s culture and environment.

Gross National Happiness has been very popular in his ideals of economic self-reliance. After that, he abdicated his throne and made the crown prince sit on it. Royal Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk assumed the duties of the king upon the abdication of the IV Maharaja in December 2006. His formal coronation took place on 6 November 2008.

Area and Population

Bhutan has an area of 38,394 square Kilometres and a population of about 777,486. With the development of health facilities, the life expectancy in Bhutan has increased significantly and it has increased from 47.5 years in 1984 to about 66 years in 2010.
Northern Bhutan has high mountain ranges which are covered with snow. The mountain peaks in these ranges are up to 7300 meters high. In addition, there is the Black Mountain, which divides Bhutan into two parts, both geographically and linguistically, from north to south. Central Bhutan has beautiful valleys whose altitudes range from 1880 meters to 2400 meters.

Ecology

The ecosystem of Bhutan is virtually intact in its original form. Bhutan is a natural place rich in diverse natural beauty, wild animals and various species of plants. According to Bhutan’s law, 60 per cent of the forest area in Bhutan will remain in perpetuity. Presently 72.5 per cent of its area is forested and more than 5000 different species of plants are present here.

Natural Resources

Bhutan has vast reserves of timber, slate, calcareous soil, dolomite, black lead, copper, limestone, coal and tungsten etc. There is ample potential for hydropower development in Bhutan. Fast-flowing deep, narrow rivers (carrying water from the melted snow of the Himalayas) contain Immense potential for hydroelectric energy. 72.5 per cent of the land here is also forested. Biodiversity is a major natural resource.

Religion

The majority of people in Bhutan are Mahayana Buddhists belonging to the Drukpa Kagyu Buddhist sect. People of Nepalese origin, who have mainly settled in the hot and humid Duar (Knante) region of southern Bhutan, are dominated by Hinduism.

The Central Buddhist Monastery is the main organization consisting of 5000 Buddhist monks. They are headed by an elected Abbot who is the bishop of the nation. Of all these traditions This can be seen in Bhutan’s religious dance ceremony called Tschechu.

Constitution and Government system

Traditionally, all powers were vested in the monarchy of Bhutan, yet the third Bhutan King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck took a dynamic step to liberalize the country’s political structure and set up an institution with the aim of ensuring people’s participation in the governance of the country. Decision made. For this, in 1953, he established ‘Tshogdu’ or the National Assembly (Parliament).

For the purpose of constitutional progress, the fourth Maharaja formed a Constitution Drafting Committee in 2001 to draft the first constitution. Chief Justice Leonpo was appointed chairman of the constitution drafting committee. The draft constitution was distributed across the nation and put on the Internet on March 26, 2005. The final version of the draft constitution was made public on 1 August 2007.

The system of government in Bhutan is a Democratic-Constitutional Monarchy. Legislative powers are vested in the Parliament consisting of the Maharaja, a National Assembly and a National Council. There are 47 members in the National Assembly. The National Council consists of 25 members. The primary round of elections was held to select the two major political parties. The two political parties that received the largest number of votes in the primary round were considered eligible to contest the general election based on constituencies.

Constituency-based parliamentary elections were held on 24 March 2008. Since there were only two political parties in the fray, one ‘The People’s Democratic Party’ (PDP) and the other ‘Duk Phuensum Tshogpa’ (äuk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) also known as Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party) It is called Duke Pheonsum Tshogpa (CJ) won 43 seats. It is a pro-monarchy party. Through this election, Bhutan has taken its step towards democracy. After the election, Lyonpo Jigme Thinley became the Prime Minister.

The draft constitution was debated through public media in all 20 districts. The constitution was discussed at a joint session of the new parliament in May 2008 and was signed on July 18, 2008. A new constitution came into force in July 2008. Universal Suffrage was implemented in the new constitution. In Bhutan, the monarch is the head of state while the prime minister is the head of government. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the King and approved by the Parliament. The National Assembly has the right to remove the king from office by a two-thirds majority.

Economics

The agriculture sector in Bhutan provides employment to more than 40 per cent people and provides them with a means of livelihood. It contributes 18 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agricultural work is still dependent on labour. Animal husbandry is an important component of the rural economy.

Until very recently, the industrial sector played a relatively minor role in Bhutan’s economy. The industries are still comparatively less developed. Monetization of the economy is still limited and the Indian Rupee is prevalent there. The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan was established in 1982 to provide central banking services.

Exports of electrical and energy-based products, cement and calcium carbide etc. Have paved the way for structural economic change. The rapid growth of hydroelectric power generation and mining etc. In comparison to agriculture has brought significant changes in the structure of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Foreign Policy

With its inclusion in the Colombo Plan in 1962, Bhutan began to emerge from centuries of isolation. Bhutan joined the United Nations in 1971, the Non-Aligned Conference in 1973 and SAARC in 1985. Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 38 countries and the European Union. Although it does not have formal diplomatic relations with any permanent member country of the United Nations Security Council. In 2012, Bhutan has asked China to formally establish its diplomatic relations (Kchswunjpbe Jaime). This desire has been expressed during the first meeting between Bhutan and China at the government level (Rio $ 20 conference, Brazil).

India continues to be Bhutan’s largest development partner, Bhutan continues to support the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and other multinational agencies such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the IBRD, and the Asian Development Bank.   (ADB) etc. Is also getting help. Along with this, Japan, Denmark, Australia, the UK, Switzerland, Austria and Netherlands etc. Are also helping it. Bhutan became a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1981. Bhutan has applied for membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has joined BIMSTEC as a member. It is also a member of various international sports organizations.

Relations with India

India and Bhutan had a friendship treaty in 1949 under which India agreed to help Bhutan in matters of foreign policy. The India-Bhutan Treaty, updated in 2007, not only promotes contemporary friendship It displays, but also lays the foundation stone of development in the 21st century.

Along with other provisions, this treaty also provides permanent peace and friendship, free trade and commerce and equal justice to each other’s citizens. India’s political relations with Bhutan have been strong over the years and can be identified by mutual trust, mutual understanding and continuous cooperation in many areas of economic development, especially hydropower etc. For mutual benefit.

Development Works in Bhutan and India Assistance

Bhutan’s development began in the 1960s with Indian assistance. So far Bhutan has completed nine five-year plans. Two of them were fully funded by India.

India has agreed to provide assistance to Bhutan’s hydroelectric projects and to purchase at least 10,000 MW of power from Bhutan by 2020. For this purpose, both countries have agreed on the construction of hydroelectric projects.

Human Resource Development Assistant

India and Bhutan have strong bilateral cooperation in the fields of education and culture. India provides technical expertise and services of experts to Bhutan in various fields. The Government of India offers scholarships every year to Bhutanese students to pursue education in higher education institutions in India at both undergraduate and postgraduate level courses.

Bhutanese students are admitted to military schools in India every year and all their expenses are borne by the Government of India. India has launched the ‘Nehru Wogchuk Scholarship Scheme’ to encourage Bhutanese students to study in prestigious Indian universities and other institutions. Its implementation started in this academic session.

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