Wednesday, September 20, 2017

President Trump at the United Nations.

The address of President Trump to the world body was loud and boisterous. Unfortunately nothing that dignified United States or Trump himself.

He called upon nations to put their interest and sovereignty before all else. That was to justify his call for  " America first." But then he lambasted North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela for the very national acts " putting their national interest and sovereignty first".

He tried to justify his attacks upon these nations by alleging that those in power did not have the popular support of the masses of their nations. But that cuts no ice because President Trump himself had lost the popular support by 3 million votes. So he is in the same shoes as those leaders he alleges as ruling without popular support.

He declared that United States will eliminate North Korea if need be. However, he did not elaborate the cost upon South Korea and Japan. Nor the real possibility of WW III as China and Russia would have to counter any such unilateral act of war by United States.

There was one good news for United Nations Secretariat. President Trump did not seem ready yet to reduce American contribution to UN. That would surely reduce American influence at the world body.  He complained about the disproportionate American contribution of 22% of UN budget when United States was just one member out of 199 UN members. Very conveniently the President skipped the obvious fact that United States held sway over almost all of  United Nations'  decisions and that many other International Organizations including Human Rights Commission and International Court of Justice were staged managed by America.  

All in all, it seems President Trump was more concerned about diverting the attention of the American people away from the election investigation of Russian connection. The address was, therefore, more for American domestic consumption than for international audience. The American public always favoured  a war- like superior race white President and thats the image ( the superiority of the white race over the orientals of North Korea, the Persians of Iran and Latinos of Cuba and Venezuela ) that  President Trump depicted at the General Assembly of United Nations. It's always Hitler's superior race against all others though the Western world stage manage a facade of ' swastika hate' public attitude. 

The President's address did not pave any new path in galvanising the world body and her members to a more peaceful and prosperous  world. But it demonstrated that America is the only Super Power and the world is still her stage.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Can there be " written understanding " for IMTRAT presence in Bhutan

Dear Dr. Brian C Shaw,

       Subject: Your suspicion of an " written     understanding " during 1959, 60 and 61.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on   my blog " Indo-Bhutan relation after Doklam"  wherein I had shared with fb friends the email correspondence with Dr.Rudra Chaudhuri. I did it to widen Bhutanese comprehension of Indo- Bhutan complexities.

Your comment raised very valid  pertinent points. I decided to respond publicly in this fashion because I am aware that you have conducted much research into Bhutanese history and national affairs. And your observation may have invited attentions from both Indian and Bhutanese Leaders, Bureaucrats, Politician and ofcourse ever boisterous Indian media. Also there are many good caring citizens here who are not aware of many things about Bhutan Government ways in particular with our friendly powerful neighbour.  

I specifically want to address your suspicion about a possible " written understanding " between India and Bhutan on IMTRAT presence in Bhutan.

For your information and to be clear from the onset I wish to clarify that  my phrase " evil secret dealings " in my email, was a teaser to Dr. Rudra Chaudhuri who was boasting about 40 pages notes of Nehru. I do not think any such secret dealing  was there let alone "evil" .  I wanted Dr. Rudra Chaudhuri  to know that those Nehru notes that he flouted so confidently  had to be substantiated by official documents signed by Bhutan. Otherwise such notes value is limitted to only reference for researchers to comprehend larger goals and cannot be considered valid  historical understandings between two nations. I hope he got my point.

It takes two hands to clap. Slapping your own thigh ( the Indian tendency )  is no proof of coupling with a partner. Hope I make myself clear to all Indian researchers and writers on Indo-Bhutan relationship the past 60 years.  

I quote below your comment for updating all readers to the context of my response here.

Quote

" Brian C. Shaw September 11, 2017 at 5:27 PM

Thank you. I don't know about "evil secret doings" but there must surely have been a written undertaking between Indian and Bhutan government in 1959-60-61 (perhaps in the autumn 1960 Tshogdu, proceedings never publicly minuted) concerning the stationing of Indian troops in Haa's dzong and environs. The third king was too alert not to have covered Bhutan's interests. Where is this document, and what are its content? Good reason no doubt *initially* for preserving secrecy in view of the events in Tibet, but that was half a century ago. Have rats eaten it? Does the Indian Archive have a copy? Indian Army's continued presence seems disproportionate to any need except that of a colonial power anxious to keep its flag flying, and the occupation of prime real estate in e.g. central Thimphu, invites a comprehensive review. It would be good for all if the review could also be transparent. Such review could be a sound basis for reassessing the whole gamut of Indo-Bhutan relations. South Block may however have to replace/rewrite some guiding documents: so might academics. (Of course, just my opinion..)"   Unquote

My response to your comments are placed hereunder:

a) In regards to your comment about possibility of " written understanding " on presence of IMTRAT in Bhutan.

I am quite sure that there is no written understanding of any kind between Bhutan and India.  IMTRAT presence like DANTAK and Geoglogical Survey of India  ( GSI ) and other Agencies from  India was of temporary nature to meet immediate need of the hour to train Bhutanese Army. That's why late Bhutanese Prime Minister had provided his own administrative and residential quarters in Haa to meet the temporary requirement of IMTRAT. 

IMTRAT and DANTAK are not to make any establishment structures of permanent nature in Bhutan. And all areas occupied by IMTRAT are registered in the name of Royal Bhutan Army. Thus in my view such  temporary measures did not call for written understandings. The broad unwritten understanding between India and Bhutan was that all Agencies of India requested by Bhutan Government  for service in Bhutan were to return back to India once Bhutan decided the needs were fulfilled or the Bhutanese national Agencies acquired the necessary capacities. That was the way with various Indian Advisors and Institutions who left Bhutan.

The latest  one which departed among Indian Institutions was Geoglogical Survey of India which was replaced with Survey of Bhutan and the last Indian Advisor to leave of all Indian Advisors was the Indian Police Advisor. His departure did cause some friction whereby India temporarily denied admission of Bhutanese Police Officer Cadets into their  welknown Training Instututions. But now India has kindly  relented. I cite this particular incident for the benefit of Bhutanese democratic leaders. There are incidental costs but all of temporary nature if  Bhutanese  leadership can take the strain and possess the will and wisdom.

India needs the good will of Bhutanese  Government and the people in more ways than average Bhutanese or even averagely abled elected democratic Bhutanese  leaders can fathom. A lot of our ill informed citizens were crying out their fear when I opposed Doklam Transgression by India.  Few among among them are ofcourse Indian side cakes. But together it was possible to review a reality political picture of present Bhutan even with Bhutan Governm ent officially maintaining near public silence. I learnt a lot from Doklam transgression. 

The address of His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to the public of Haa in 1970/71 ( any way it was during the inauguration of Haa motor road )  and His Majesty's refusal to grant a Bhutanese nomenclature to DANTAK are all confirmation of temporary roles of these Indian institutions in Bhutan. So both in practice as outlined above, in words and intention the Indian Agencies were to return back to India once their services were deemed fulfilled by Bhutan. 

His Majesty the Third King  had declined the PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's request that the King give a Bhutanese name to DANTAK with a kind royal reasoning that Bhutanese citizens must recognise the contributions of DANTAK as an Indian Agency and appreciate Indian assistance. Personally, His Majesty had no desire to convert any foreign agency a permanent feature of Bhutan by granting a Bhutanese nomenclature. 

And in the  Public Address in Haa, His Majesty kindly Commanded that Haa Dzong complex belonged to Haaps and that it was not leased or given to IMTRAT. The late Prime Minister had only made a temporary arrangement to meet the need of those years. I am sure that Commandants of DANTAK, IMTRAT and Ambassador of India in Bhutan were present at hearing distance that day at the Haa Dzong Complex when that address was made.   

I myself had humbly raised twice the issue of Indian military assistance and of IMTRAT. Once during an audience granted to students of Ugyen Wangchuck Academy in mid 1970 in the Dinning Hall of the Academy and at another time in the Winter of 1970 with with specific reference to Haa Dzong Complex in a  private audience at Thimphu Motithang Hotel during a semi- official  Party. There was not an iota of doubt about the temporary nature of assignments in Bhutan of all Indian Institutions like Advisors, GSI , DANTAK and IMTRAT. 

Just like the departure of Geological Survey of India and many Indian Advisors including the Indian Police Advisor, I feel when time comes the departure of DANTAK and IMTRAT will be managed by Bhutan with the least grievances exercised by India. As usual some reluctance and unhappiness will get displayed in words and deed but these must be managed with grace and patience from Bhutan side. 

The prolonged presence of both DANTAK and IMTRAT was due to national misfortunes of Bhutan and nothing to do with any Agreement. Bhutan suffered deep national shocks of  losing both Prime Minister Jigme Palden Dorji and His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in rather short period of time in their prime lives in 1964 and 1972 respectively.   Providence had not favoured Bhutan then. We still do not know how or who really are responsible for our national misfortunes. But theories are in abundance. I believe in letting the past go no matter how reluctantly and most dearly. And concentrating on the  present and the future responsibilities of a sovereign Kingdom with both China and India. I hope our Deities guide the thoughts and actions of our King and the Prime Minister towards vital elements of  sovereign goals of the Kingdom.   

b)  I appreciate  your frank summary that IMTRAT role has been reduced over the years. Therefore,  accordingly it's presence should be reduced. And that South Block in Delhi should redraw new guidelines in India's overall dealing with Bhutan.

I fully agree. I feel both DANTAK and IMTRAT should now be more of a liaison agencies rather than pivotal agencies. Their personnel and establishment size need to be reduced. The Bhutanese Agencies like Royal Bhutan Army and Road Department  have developed necessary capacity to bear all responsibilities that were once entrusted to DANTAK and IMTRAT. 

And as you pointed out, Bhutan and India need to relook at their national, regional and international status and accordingly redesign the ways of cooperation and basis of good friends relations to reflect genuine equal respect for sovereignty right and position of each nation. That way Bhutan- India can have lasting trust worthy relationship.

Once again thank you for your sincerity  and affection for Bhutan. It has been quite sometime hearing your voice. Glad that you are in good health and very sharp as always. 

Sincerely

Wangcha Sangey

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sharing with fb friends a frank exchange with an Indian writer on Indo- Bhutan relation after Doklam.

I met Dr. Rudra Chaudhuri at his request.  He had come from India to Thimphu to research on Doklam incident. He was in contact with India House in Thimphu. Later he wrote an article " looking-for-godot-doklam-standoff-india-china-bhutan-neighbours/" in the Indian Express and had kindly sent me the link.
( Dr. Rudra Chaudhuri is said to be a Senior Lecturer at the Department of War Studies and the India Institute at King’s College, London.  But presently he is based in India researching for a book on Emergency Period under PM Indra Gandhi ).

Below are our exchanges of thoughts through email on the article he wrote. He had begun his article with the attempt to provide credence to Indian Transgression at Doklam.  And that I disagreed. Thus my writing to him and his response etc.

I had not thought of sharing with fb friends our correspondences but maybe Bhutanese might like to read into my inner mind. The Public of Bhutan must also get into the habit of comprehending how our authorities are guiding the nation and how India views us.

The emails are copied hereunder serial wise:

(1)  On Sep 3, 2017 11:49, "Rudra Chaudhuri" <rudy_83@hotmail.com<mailto:rudy_83@hotmail.com>> wrote:

Dear all
>
> Please forgive this indulgence: a piece by me based on a recent visit to Bhutan, and some history.
>
> The longer online version with maps:
> http://indianexpress.com/article/india/looking-for-godot-doklam-standoff-india-china-bhutan-neighbours/
>
> Warmly, Rudra
>
> The print version:
> [image1.JPG]

(2)   > On 4 Sep 2017, at 07:48, Sangey Wangcha <sangeywangcha@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dear Mr. Rudra Chaudhuri
>
> A quote from your piece
>
> " In matters to do with external affairs and “defence”, as Nehru did not fail to tell his gracious hosts, Bhutan was to be guided by New Delhi."  Unquote
>
> A quote from Nehru's speech at Paro Bhutan. September, 1958.
>
> “ Some may think that since India is a great and powerful country and Bhutan a small one, the former might wish to exercise pressure on Bhutan. It is therefore essential that I make it clear to you that our only wish is that you should remain an independent country, choosing your own way of life and taking the path of progress according to your will.” Unquote
>
> I guess you knew the facts and yet like most Indian writers just went ahead to put your own Government's twisted version.
>
> No matter what or how things are twisted the end cannot be shaped or controlled. Bhutan will remain a sovereign nation. Whether relationships with China or India progresses or de-progresses or whether present Bhutanese leadership can handle or not handle outside pressures, fate of Bhutan and her neighbours will not be decided by few political leaders of Bhutan, China or India. History is clear of one course. The beginner does not decide the ending. Events are not like movie where the producer and director control both ends.
>
> I am sure you saw the pulling down of the statue of Saddam Hussain several years back in Iraq and the recent pulling down of confederate statues in America. And counter attack write ups against Linclon about his own personal track records of his slaves. So you see what was started off by America in Iraq is now haunting back in America. I am sure that was not the ending American leaders planned.
>
> By the way Nehru's trek to Bhutan was not through Toorsa Park though that does not change the fact he treked to Bhutan to offer to  the King of Bhutan India's frienship to an equally sovereign nation Bhutan and in return seek Bhutan's friendship for India. The facts are very clear in his speech to the Bhutanese public.
>
> It was not spoken over radio or at some podium of another meeting. It was a face to face at a gathering of live Bhutanese audience who trekked from one to several days to hear Nehru out. Paro at that time served as the Summer Capital where the King temporarily resided. Majesty the King of Bhutan wanted Nehru to come to Paro and  directly in person tell the Bhutanese people what India's intentions were and then have the Bhutanese people themselves tell their King the forward step. That was the sole reason for making Nehru do the arduous trek instead of the much younger and physically fit King meeting Nehru in Haa   or visit Delhi. Did Nehru lie through his teeth or are you modern lips blackening your mouths?
>
> You are in prime of life and seems capable. As for education so many are in your shoes. Education is a tool of knowledge. Not the foundation of character of an  individual.   In life what really is worth is yourself. Do not tarnish it further for sake of barking with the dogs.
>
>
> Sincerely
> Wangcha Sangey.
>
>
(3)   >On Sep 4, 2017 09:53, "Rudra Chaudhuri" <rudy_83@hotmail.com> wrote:
Dear Wangcha

Am afraid your wrong. The speech in Paro is not the only one he made on Bhutan. Their are 40 pages of notes by him on Bhutan in the archives. And then correspondences with the King, I have access to them all. They are available for any one to access. Any proper researcher would use archives. I don't twist anything for anyone. And well aware of the responsibilities of an educator. Perhaps it's time you should start using the archives before jumping at conclusions that are false.

Rudra

Sent from my iphone

(4)   >On 4 Sep 2017, at 13:05, Sangey Wangcha <sangeywangcha@gmail.com> wrote:

I am sure there are plenty of notes and  versions that suits Indian side. But these will have to withstand the implication of the first public speech of the first Indian Prime Minister who came to Bhutan seeking friendship. I hear that Nehru was critised for that Paro public speech upon his return to  Delhi. However, a speech given in public to the people of Bhutan was one time and that essence cannot be diluted by later corrections.

I am aware that  India did all the opposites but in his visit that was the commitment. So to contend that Nehru did or said differently during that visit from what he publicly told Bhutanese public is beyond any reasonable comprehension. Nehru may not be appreciated by BJP but he cannot be such a double faced guy.

What changes took place or were imposed upon Bhutan after 1962 still cannot refute Nehru's speech in 1958.

I hope you read the note wherein Nehru told his companions that the King of Bhutan was very reluctant to accept offers of assistance by Nehru.  The King of Bhutan was not at all ready to barter away the sovereignty of his nation to India in 1958 and to China in 1962. And he passed that message again to India in 1971whist pushing for UN membership. Since you have access to all records,  maybe you check the record of meeting between Bhutanese Delegation and India in Delhi. Read the outburst and table banging by the Bhutanese Delegation Leader that made India endorse Bhutan's membership to UN.

I do not jump to conclusion. Are you saying  that the  Paro speech is questionable. It was the one and only major speech given by an Indian Prime Minister stating his nation's political position towards Bhutan. The other very similar was given by Rajiv Gandhi to the National Assembly of Bhutan wherein he declared that  India was not a big brother to Bhutan.

India has manipulated and taken much advantage of Bhutan's trust in Nehru's commitment and Bhutan's transit dependence on India.  And even recently India tried to sell a very different version of 2007 Treaty. Only this time it did not work. And henceforth this latest transgression and lopsided aggressive interpretation of 2007  Bhutan and India Treaty will overhang like a dark cloud. 

For sure India has forced Bhutan to take the more difficult path. Changing almost 60 years of way of life is not easy. But for sovereignty sake, I guess Bhutanese leadership will have to take the unenviable route or perish. 

Good day Mr. Educator.
   

(5)   On Sep 4, 2017 14:14, "Rudra Chaudhuri" <rudy_83@hotmail.com> wrote:
Maybe you should get notes from your archives, till then your points in history are more theoretical I am afraid. Also, you have, as expected, misunderstood the entire point of the article.

Hope to stay in touch.

Sent from my iphone


(6)  On 5 Sep 2017, at 08:27, Sangey Wangcha <sangeywangcha@gmail.com> wrote:

I understood you telling your Country to be more neighbourly responsible. But that whole gesture or point of the article was wasted with you indirectly validating that Indian stand " Protectorate state" by saying Nehru had preserved Indian say in foreign and " defence" of Bhutan. You had even put the word defence in inverted comas.

(7)  On Sep 5, 2017 11:02, "Rudra Chaudhuri" <rudy_83@hotmail.com> wrote:
Dear Sir

That was certainly not the idea, and those were Nehru's words, hence commas. I don't think the article was wasted, if I may say, lots of students, officials and others from Bhutan has reached out. Also, we do hope to move government here to look more closely at hydro, roads and areas where change in Indian advance is necessary.

All best

Sent from my iphone

(8)   On 6 Sep 2017, at 13:38, Sangey Wangcha <sangeywangcha@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Mr. Rudra Chaudhuri,

As much as you and many in Bhutan hope, the road to equal friendship with India seems to have been blocked. This Doklam transgression followed with application of " Protectorate status " upon Bhutan must have shaken the very foundation of Bhutanese heirachy. I am just a commoner.

I think common people everywhere and under any authority will mostly remain common and in much the same subordinate role. Therefore, the conflict mostly are inbetween elites. For example if President Xi and Prime Minister Modi agrees on somethings, the majority of Chinese and Indian public maybe OK with the decisions. Likewise if the King of Bhutan gives in to China or India without considering the dignity of Bhutan, the public of Bhutan may never be in position to do anything about the events. The likes and dislikes of common people take time to mature to reality.

Thus disagreements come from leaders most of the time not from the man on the street.

As far as I can see, Bhutan could not have asked Indian Army to step into Doklam. And as far as I can read the implication of the revised 2007 Treaty, it in no way allows India to walk in and claim Bhutan as a " Protectorate ". Now if somehow ( impossible in my view) there was a secret understsnding unknown to Bhutanese public or Parliament, then things could be as it was yesteryears between Bhutan and India. But if there was no such evil secret dealings then for sure things cannot remain as in the past. One will soon come to know the facts through what decisions Bhutan King and Prime Minister take.

As I have written,  basing the transgression at Doklam and this nonsense of " Protectorate state " upon the 2007 revised Treaty is the darkest insult that India could have come up with to the Father and Son Kings of Bhutan. I hope their Majesties have analysed accurately the shock wave caused by " Protectorate state " status. Bhutanese people whose roots go back centuries do not expect their leaders selling them short. And likewise the Wangchuck Dynasty too would take exceptions to be treated so lightly if India's contentions happens to be an ugly surprise to them as these were shock to fellow Bhutanese like myself. 

Anyway, I am a strong believer in the ways of our national Deities. Whatever outcome that follows, hereafter, one must make the best out of it. Regardless of who our friend is, Bhutan is small and weak. So we will be taken advantage of sooner or later. Till now, our strength has been to put a limit to getting bullied.

People do not seek Chinese goodwill because they think China will be gracious. Its just that bullying  by India is becoming unbearable. Maybe China would be less of a bully. It's like second marriage. The first being unbearable the second happens out of compulsion rather than choice of love. 

Well ending here, let me wish you well.

Sincerely

Wangcha Sangey.

I am sure that in the near future there would be communication between us but on this subject there is no further exchange.

Indian Government and most Indian writers will always promote their side of the stand on deciding for Bhutan in affairs of external relations and national defence.  It is upto both the common citizens and leaders of Bhutan to make diligent efforts to preserve our sovereign rights.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The window dressing for Doklam transgression by Indian troops.

Leopards cannot change their spots is the English proverb. The Bhutanese proverb is the stripes of tiger is exterior whilst that of man interior.

The Bhutanese editor has once again made China the belligerent when it was Indian troops that marched into Bhutanese and Chinese territories at Doklam. 

Indian  Army Camp on Sikkim side is just 150 meters from Chinese road extension spot at Doklam. And Bhutanese Patrol camp is away several Kms. And yet  Tenzing Lamsang claims it was Bhutan Patrol that first tried to stop the Chinese road extension activity.

He further alleges that China expressed her respect for Bhutanese sovereignty in Talks but on ground level had kept encroaching into Bhutanese territories. How unfortunate and deluded an allegation at a time when it was India which marched her armed troops into Bhutan and claimed that Bhutan is her " Protectorate state ".

The Bhutanese Newspaper is accused of being an unofficial mouth piece of the PDP Party and this present Government of Bhutan.  I found it more an Indian propaganda outlet during the occupation of Doklam by Indian Troops.

He writes that the Bhutanese Government refused to confirm whether it had invited Indian troops or not to Doklam. That was to keep China off balance he thinks.  And at the same time,  he confirms the fact that Bhutanese Army  did not join the Indian Army at Doklam.

I do not know what communications he has with the higher ups in the  Bhutanese and Indian administrative heirachies. But what he has alluded in his article " Bhutan triumphs at Doklam"  is that Bhutan invited Indian troops but cleverly put forth a different face to China by not  having Royal Bhutan Army joining the Indian Army at Doklam. A hide and seek sort of dubious political game?

I have no access to confidential government records or behind the scene political maneuvers or communications with high authorities of Bhutan or India.  I go by past precedents and my down to earth honest respects for their Majesties the Kings and deep confidence in that no King of Bhutan would ever surrender his responsibility of defending Bhutan to another foreign force and that never will a Bhutanese King ever succumb to having his people and Kingdom a slave and protectorate to  another foreign nation even if that nation is India the economic benefactor of past 11 five years development activities of Bhutan.

All I can say to such a gross misformation spread by Tenzing Lamsang under the cover of being  the editor of Newspaper " The Bhutanese " is that Bhutanese people should know better. We have a responsibility to be informed citizens. We should know that Their Majesties the Kings of Bhutan had never shied away from defending the Kingdom of Bhutan. And that the Institution of Monarchy is  respected by the citizens of all ages because Kings of Bhutan never engaged in dubious double political games.  And in matters of national sovereignty, Bhutan never played hide and seek games with China and India. And what Tenzing Lamsang described is all about a hide and seek incident.

Indian troops could never haven been invited by Bhutan. Kings do not have hereditary nature of offering their crown authority bestowed upon them by the nation to another foreign entity. Bhutan has committed for almost  60 years on building Indo- Bhutan Relation. Bhutan just cannot publicly embarrass India for so many reasons. Thus Bhutan was not able to out rightly expose India's blatant aggression for what it was at Doklam.  However,  Bhutanese Government refused to publicly go along with Indian narrative. And the most tale telling  sign was that Royal  Bhutan Army totally  ignored the transgressing Indian troops at Doklam. If Bhutan had asked Indian help, Royal Bhutan Army troops would have been there along with the Indian Army troops at Doklam. 

The Doklam transgression was completey an Indian Army show of aggression against Bhutan. And Bhutan being  militarily weak and economically dependent upon  India was humiliatingly handicapped at Doklam to resist physically at Doklam or verbally in public the shocking Indian transgression.

China was ofcourse defending her interest. There is no doubt about this. But in defending her territorial integrity, China made Indian troops withdraw back to their own Sikkim border. The Sikkim border wherein Indian Army is usually based is   only about 150 meters from Chinese road point at Doklam. So Indian troop retreat requires retracing steps back by 150  meters only. I do not hate China for making such a necessary stand and by default removing transgressing Indian troops from Bhutanese soil too.

Now regarding Chinese encroachments into Bhutanese territories in the past. Incidents have happened and there are roads built in what we call disputed areas. Unlike some recent youngsters who learned to write but are novice to China - Bhutan Border issues,  Haa Valley my birth place was physically exposed to the first incident of " border encroachment" with Tibetan yak herders driving their yaks into what was traditionally Bhutanese grazing land in 1960s. I, too, like most people of Haa felt the wound of aggression at our door steps. At that time, I wondered why His Majesty the Third King did not react more forcefully. Maybe ask Indian help I thought. Yet Bhutan never approached India for military help against deemed Chinese border encroachment acts.   Instead Bhutan informed  India what was happening at the Bhutan - China Border. India had been very insistent on handling the Bhutanese border issues with China. So the Kings of Bhutan having little option, had not out rightly opposed Indian pressure on this score. But that does not mean Bhutan had amicably surrendered to India her sovereign right to discuss her own border issues with China. However, under the circumstances dictated by geopolitical compulsions, a different way of approach had to be found to reject Indian overlordship attitude.

Thus there was repeated back and forth encroachment incidents at the northern border.  When Bhutan protested, Tibetans went back and again re- entered after a lull.  And as usual Bhutan kept pressuring  India who had insisted on taking up the border talks with China for Bhutan to do something tangible.  China kept up the pressure at the border and Bhutan kept up the pressure upon India. But on the other hand, China refused to engage India on matters of Sino- Bhutan Border. China told India that she will only talk to sovereign Bhutan. 

And finally India was taught a hard lesson in international politics. She cannot decide about the border of Bhutan and China even if India in many aspects had tiny Bhutan under her thumbs. India had duped Bhutan into equal nation friendship in 1958 then thereafter, had forced Bhutan into various submissions.

Bhutan surrendered to Indian leads in many peripheral fields ( Non- Aligned, SAARC etc.) but on core national sovereign affairs,  the Kings of Bhutan gently steered away Indian hegemony trend  ( UN membership, recognition of Bangladesh, the Border Treaty with China, the expulsion of Indian militant groups from Bhutan and the team of  National Council and Opposition DPT Party firmly opposing ratification of BBIN Agreement signed by the Bhutanese Government and the recent silent stand against Indian troops transgression at Doklam). 

As highlighted above,  in real crucial national sovereign affairs,  Bhutan somehow over time managed to outwit India. So it was with Bhutan- China Border Talks. After numerous incidents of Border encroachments by China into northern Bhutan, India was compelled to allow Bhutan to represent herself in the Bhutan- China Border Talks. That was how politics of Border encroachment played out. It was not so straight acts of aggression as was narrated by novice Tenzing Lamsang. He should have made some effort to analyse the information from Indian sources ( but then one must recognise the fact that all  mouth piece have shortcomings that invite manipulation by generous powerful Agencies).  But here suffice to say that few border encroachment incidents may have been politics of cajoling India down to her own sovereign affairs and not keep dictating upon Bhutanese sovereign affairs on Border issues with China. 

Now Kulagangri mountain that was once reflected as being part of Bhutan by Geoglogical Survey of India (GSI).  Bhutan did not then have a Survey Agency of its own with the required technical expertise. Thank you GSI but you should have physically set foot there and carried out the ground survey instead of making a guess work on Kulagangri in the comfort of your mapping room.

Unfortunately,  for Bhutan the ground physical reality turned out to be different when Survey of Bhutan finally had the capability to map the national domain physical landscape.  Most Bhutanese even laymen know the story of Tibetan great Saint Milarepa and his nine storey stupa type building somewhere in Tibet.   Well folks, that place and stupa and other Tibetan settlements happens to lie in-between the mountain ranges of North Central Bhutan and Mount Kulagangri which rises on the other side across the Tibetan Plains. 

In conclusion,  I would like for all Bhutanese people to shoulder the responsibilities of being informed citizens. We are not haters of China or India at birth forget being so in the wombs of our mothers. But there are people who hate China from their time in the womb. I am not being racists.  Just realistic about the valid reasons for most Tibetans to hate anything and everything about China. I would too if I am in any way connected to Tibet. I respect the feeling of Tibetans but refuse to adopt it for Bhutanese dealings with China.

Truly concerned Bhutanese citizens must beware that there are people amongst us who knowingly or unknowingly are sacrificing Bhutanese national sovereignty on the alter of personal birth hate for China. At Doklam, it was Indian troops not Chinese troops that occupied Bhutanese territory. So know upon whom to tag the belligerent term at Doklam.

Bhutanese of Drukpa or Lhotsampa forefathers do not have an alternate home. So as His Majesty the Third King once addressed the families of Bhutanese soldiers ( let me roughly provide the gist in english) let us value Bhutan as our only homeland. 

His Majesty addressed thus:

I thank you for the sacrifice of your fathers, sons, husbands and brothers who are camped at Dadhue- Margaa  in Thimphu in preparation to defend our nation. We Bhutanese have no option but to protect our land  We are all farmers nourished by the very soil of our land.  We have no other wealth that we can carry with us and find home elsewhere. So with your blessings and sacrifice, I intent to lead our brave solders to defend our Kingdom.

That address was given at Paro Palace ground where people of Haa joined others to hear the King.  Bhutan thought China may cross into Bhutan from Arunachal in 1962.  Thankfully China never ever aggressively attempted to disturb the status quo of sovereign Bhutan to this day.

There are some who think that my stand for my country arises from some hidden dislike for India or preference for China. Sorry that you suffer from limitations of vision. I can never say what China may turn out to be if China happened to enjoy the same economic, transit and thus the  political clouts over Bhutan as India does now. I have never called for disengagement with India. I have never called for IMTRAT and DANTAK to leave Bhutan. What I have always sought is that India respect the crucial elements of sovereignty of Bhutan.

I have been very honest and substantive in my views. I do not dis- respect Indian or my own Bhutanese authorities. My objective is to express what I truly feel in the hope that the leaders of Bhutan and India make corrective measures to establish a genuine respectable cooperation between our two nations that recognises equality in national sovereign aspirations.

I am not a disruptor and not a happy go lucky individual. I care for national unity and regional peace. I want friendly neighbours not overpowering friends. I respect my Kings and do want to contribute to the preservation of the political relevance and national dignity of the institution of Bhutanese Monarchy. That is why I value essence of being truthful even if some deem it to be against the reverred authority.

I was the first Bhutanese long before Lyonpo Om Pradhan wrote his book " the roar of the Dragon " to talk honestly of Southern Bhutan Uprising. I wanted the nation to heal and our Lhotsampa brothers and sisters to comprehend the national validity of the ways of the Fourth King. I was the first to defend the meeting of Prime Minister Jigme Yoeser Thinley with the Chinese Premier. Not for JYT sake but for Bhutan in the long run. I may be again the first Bhutanese commoner to publicly  seek conclusion to Bhutan- China Border Talks and establishment of diplomatic relationship with China. My feelings have nothing to do with India or China per se. I personally believe that opening up to China consolidates Bhutanese sovereignty status among world commity of nations and expands   opportunities to achieve our development goals.  I am fully aware and also am satisfied that India will remain Bhutan's closest friend and generous benefactor. But unlike few of my countrymen, I do not accept this prevailing " master- mistress relationship " that India politically terms as " Protectorate ".

From 1970s ( when I pushed for opening  up extrene northern Bhutan to tourists from the western world against Indian Embassy reservations and direct hard currency payment against order issued by Reserve Bank of India to Travel Agencies in India who co- ordinated foreign tourists tours to Bhutan) some people have warned me of RAW action of elimination for those that oppose Indian hegemony.  I never took it seriously. If I had placed my own  personal safety and interest before that of my Country's national interests, I would never have been able to state the truth. People fear not just Indian but our own authority so they claim to choose silence. But that way, our leadership hierachy will never know the truth that lie within  the hearts of the common citizens.

P.S. ( I managed to establish direct links with travel agencies in foreign countries and also secured direct dollar payments for tours to Bhutan before I left Bhutan Tourism. The Chomolhari trek through northern Bhutan is still a popular sought after trek. What I achieved was only in the course of performing my entrusted official duties during those 1970s period.  Today I hope I have succeeded in sensitising fellow Bhutanese to the necessity of having good relationships with both India and China.

And lastly I do not consider any Bhutanese or Indian my adversary. Those who express resentment or throw insults my way are not in my age or experience bracket nor are they free of fear or prejudice. I answer them only to prevent further public deception by their falsehood but I do not consider them to be worthy friend or foe. They are neither below me or above me in terms of race or blood. The difference is where we feel the pain. Bhutanese sovereignty is core existence for many of us and for few a means to barter for personal convenience  or easy livelihood. The difference is not in race, blood or culture it is in thought and attitude). Peace be to all.       
  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Shri Arun Jaitley loses Defence Ministry Portfolio in the Doklam aftermath.

A rethinking and repositioning of power at PM Modi's Delhi has happened.

An aimless Note Ban by Finance Ministry and a reckless adventurism at Doklam by Defence Ministry cost Shri Arun Jaitley his 2nd in Command Position in the Indian  Government heirachy and his Defence Portfolio.

Shri Rajnath Singh was almost at par with
Shri Arun Jaitley in influence but too many racial and  social disturbances plus continuous security incidents bogged his image down. And now Shri Arun Jaitley too is pushed back but not out. 

Now it is Shri Amit Shah who once again has gained his rightful position. He brought Modi the General Election as well as the following successes in state elections plus political upsets in Goa, Manipur, Bihar and possibly soon in Tamil Naidu. So during this Cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Modi had him selecting new Ministers and rejecting old ones.

Shri Amit Shah is a political genius. Whether he has national leadership in him or not depends, hereafter,  on how India goes about in her dealings with SAARC Countries and the ability to deal with American demands and Chinese reality. His influence should now matter in PM Modi governance of India and India's attitude to the concerns of the neighbours and the region. 

As a Bhutanese, I am most disappointed with Shri Arun Jaitley for sitting on the rupee note exchange regarding old rupee stock with Bhutan as Finance Minister of India. And most upset with him as Defence Minister of India for Doklam transgression. I wanted him to be replaced as Defence Minister. He was either weak or simply a war mongering fellow.

The Punjab election defeat for him seemed to have affected his intellectual bearing. He was quite a promising leader of BJP during the last UPA tenure. Now just an economic jumble bumble and political liability in regional sphere. How could such a brilliant mind and noted politician lose his bearing when he is almost at the summit. Maybe political altitude sickness if ever there is such an illness.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Doklam is free from Trespassers. May the Deities of Bhutan always prevail !

My deepest admirations and respects for His Majesty the People's King of Bhutan and the Government of Bhutan for ensuring that the  true and natural sovereign respecting status quo is maintained at Doklam. Small and militarily tiny Bhutan is but courage and wisdom saw the nation through intact. The Indian troops have withdrawn back to Indian Border. There is no shame is doing the right thing, dear Indian Army. Defend your great nation and respect our heavenly Kingdom.

I sincerely thank His Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for taking the right step and correcting the mis- step of war- mongering politicians and bureaucrats. Please appoint an independant Defence Minister to avoid free rides for war- mongers. Shri Arun Jaitley is over stretched and buried under Note Ban deluge and GST complexities.

Bhutan has been a sovereign nation since time immemorial and a Kingdom since 1907. The Kingdom of Bhutan and their Majesties the Kings have been genuine friends of India. Bhutan shared the joys of India when she received her independence from the British Empire in 1947. And in 1962,  Bhutan sympathised Indian losses and defeat from the Chinese forces  and extended all help to provide safe passage to the fleeing Indian soldiers from Tawang through Bhutan to India. Bhutan always extended a  helping hand to India in times of real need.

India on the other hand,  instigated two uprisings of ethnic group in Southern Bhutan ( 1956 and 1989 ). Flooded Southern Bhutan with Indian militant groups during the 1990s after the unsuccessful 2nd ethnic uprising. Then attempted to hijack Bhutanese democratic Government formation in 2013 and this year 2017, India invaded Bhutanese territory. Please review history. Bhutan did not seek Indian assistance or friendship. 

Only after His Excellency Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of India undertook the arduous  himalayan trek to Bhutan in 1958 and offered friendship on equal terms and India's respect for Bhutan's sovereignty, the King of Bhutan consented to establish both economic and political relationships with India. Indian bureaucrats, politicians, and media should revisit the speech of Shri Pandit Nehru to the people of Bhutan.  

Those words are as solid and meaningful  as that of his " freedom at midnight" speech heralding the Independence of India. And yet successive Indian Governments betrayed his commitments to Bhutan just like they betrayed Gandhi's dream of co- existence for all Indian races and religions.

Bhutan was never a " protectorate state"  of India nor that of British Raj of India. The clause " to be guided in foreign affairs " in 1949 Bhutan-India Treaty was just a copycat term of Sinchula Treaty that British India imposed on Bhutan in 1865. Further in 1865, Bhutan was following an Isolationist Policy dealing only with Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Ladakh. There was no other foreign relation plans. Since 1949, Bhutan never adhered to that term with  independent India.  And reflecting ground reality, this dormant clause was removed in the revised  2007 Bhutan- IndiaTreaty.  Thus eradicating any lingering vintage of overlordship of India in any affairs of Bhutan including external affairs. And this fact must remain imprinted on any cooperation between Bhutan and India.

India must take note of an edict issued by His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck that in summary declared for all within and without that " in the Kingdom of Bhutan, the King of Bhutan shall always be the sovereign ruler and ultimate authority ". This was not a direct reminder to India but it was issued in due course after India offered military back- up to the King at the time of the assassination of the Prime Minister Jigme Palden Dorji of Bhutan by the Brigadier in Command of Bhutan Army Operational aspects. 

His Majesty who was abroad on medical treatment returned to Bhutan to deal with the crisis. The King firmly declined  Indian Government's offer to send Indian Army into Bhutan  " to quell the mutiny " so reasoned India.  Indian Government must have been utterly  dismayed when the King summoned his  Brigadier to the Palace and Commanded him to surrender himself over to the military police for court- Marshall proceedings.

A similar historic event was repeated in 2003. His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck declined Indian offer to send Indian Army to dislodge ( most ironically) militants groups of India who were fighting for their respective state autonomy.  The King declined and led his own Bhutanese Army to crush and expel all such militants groups to the utter shock of Indian Army. Tiny Bhutan Army succeeded where for decades the mighty Indian Army failed. 

This time at Doklam, India did not bother to ask His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. Indian Army simply trooped into Bhutanese and Chinese territories at Doklam Plateau on the pretext of defending Bhutanese territory.  India thought it would be a piece of cake like the 2013 intrusions in the General Election of Bhutan. Few years ago, the Bhutanese authority was ill prepared for such well orchestrated action and propaganda that various agencies of India enacted. But this time, once burnt twice shy kind of maturity was demonstrated by Bhutan after the initial confusion that resulted in " one namesake demarche and one solitary press release". 

That " Protectorate state " claim of India  shocked the Bhutanese leadership to the danger that loomed over the Kingdom's sovereignty. Thank God this Indian attempt at Bhutanese sovereignty heist occurred when the reigning King had acquired 11 years of experience on the job and the birth of the  Crown Prince to whom the King has the hereditary duty to enthrone later in likened manner of his own enthronement by his illustrious great father the 4th King. There cannot be a future King if the Kingdom is not preserved now.  And above all our Great 4th King is in the best of health and immensely over versed in  all the intricacies and manoeuvres of politics of India. Modi is just another Prime Minister of India whose time has come and whose time will pass. And the Wangchuck Dynasty will flourish along with the Kingdom and the people of Bhutan for many more centuries.

I am relieved that China stood firm and upheld Bhutanese sovereignty. And the  Deities of our beloved Kingdom stood omnipotent and omniscient. Thank You Triple Gem. Kuenchho Soum is the Greatest !

Despite so many unsavory threats posed by India to Bhutsn's sovereign existence, Bhutanese wish to be friends with Indian people. We cannot choose our neighbours so we choose to be friends with both the neighbouring giants:  India and China. India will always enjoy better advantages than China. But do not squander away such opportunities. Be deserving of Bhutan's goodwill and best of friendship.

Bhutan, China and India have been designed and destined to be neighbours whether the geographical positioning is to our liking or not. So we might as well move forward for sounder peace, greater prosperity and better trust worthy friendships. We cannot be equal in material resources and military might. But as sovereign nations, practise  equal respects. May Bhutan, China and India become better neighbours.

Hurrah for the sacred sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Pelden Drukpa Lha Gyel Lo !

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Corporatisation is no solution for better health services.

In regards to corporatisation of JDWNRH, I support the position taken by the Opposition Party. Here the Government has a larger responsibility than simply finding a way of bypassing RCSC. The very nomenclature " Corporation " corrupts the constitutional mandate to provide health services to the people free of cost. The very theme of Corporation is commercial success. Bhutan needs better health service not better commercial success in health sector. Mind you there are so many ways though to curtail expenditure without compromising service qualities.   

Specialists are indispensable to wholesome health services. So are other general doctors and the many other health professionals like nurses and technical staffs. How would corporatisation affect the morale of these professionals? As civil servants their ultimate boss is the Health Minister and they are part of a nationwide health service fraternity. With the corporatisation of JDWNRH, these professionals suddenly find themselves in a shrunken world. And most probably at the mercy of a politically connected boss who neither possess the quality nor the attitude to serve a corporation. There are only few managers who qualify to serve and not just lead corporations and most such are not politically connected and therefore never considered.  

There is a huge psychological difference between serving the nation and serving a Corporation. Additional Corporation allowance is like an alimony. If possible staying married is preferable in terms of security and social dignity. That's the nearest I can come up in differentiating between the feelings for Government service and that of corporate service. Working condition is not the real criteria. There are always both lazy and hard workers in both Government and corporate services. I have been in both the world. Good and sensible administration in Government and management in Corporations makes all the right difference. 

The solution to retaining specialists lies in innovative management. Let me give an example: How does a reserved car parking space for the doctors at the hospital compound sound? And how about a proper office room with a free internet connected lap top and a mobile phone with free voucher for specialists? How about free alternate Saturdays off duty for very senior professionals unless emergency cases comes up? How about a coffee and tea lounge service after a hectic operation schedule?    Some such perks and privileges that acknowledge the importance, the seniority  and value of the persons and the their golden experiences. Just few examples that demonstrates appreciations.

Money is ofcourse a commercial magnet. But to a lot of senior people who are well past their mid life, there are other things equally appreciated and longed for. I speak from experiences.  And all these example of amenities are permissable within the RCSC and Audit rules and regulations. If it is hard to see, hear or think then reach out for those who have the pre- requisites to help out. The best Manager is one who is all out to get things done and find solutions within the rules of the game. Not changing the rules of the game. Good Luck and better sense of Management at JDWNRH.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

DNT Party is playing the Indian card of destabilising the Bhutanese nation.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa has regretfully become an alien party with dubious design. At a time when the nation is placed in a precarious position by India, DNT is seemingly playing a role of a Dirty National Traitor Party. It is  distracting the attention of the nation from a national crisis precipitated by external forces. In so doing, the DNT is sabotaging national efforts to protect our sovereignty. 

Why did  DNT choose this very crucial national agony time to attack the Government in reign? The Government of Bhutan and the nation is under great stress by the attacks on national sovereignty by India. 

Indian troops are occupying our territory at Doklam.

India has declared that Bhutan is her " Protectorate state ".

India has rubbished the true essence of the revised 2007  Bhutan- India Treaty of 1949. Indian aggression and especially the misconstruction of the essence and true  understanding of the revised Treaty terms has not just transgressed upon our national sovereignty but has insulted our great Kings who negotiated and signed the revised 2007 Treaty with India.  And worse,  Japan a deemed friend of Bhutan and second largest donor to Bhutanese development activities has joined rank with India and has publicly come out in support of Indian effort to dilute Bhutanese sovereignty. Bhutan is isolated. 

The revised 2007 Treaty  had totally freed Bhutan from Indian dominance and abolished any past British Raj colonial shreds that infringed upon Bhutanese self will.  However this time at Doklam, India has declared that this very revised Treaty as a " Sell out to India " Treaty to suit her hegemonic ambition.  India has misconstructed the true meaning and understanding of Clause 2 of the revised Treaty.

The clause 2 of the revised 2007 Treaty  specifically declared that neither country will allow on their soil activities harmful to the other. And this time at Doklam what did India do? India sent troops into Bhutanese and Chinese territory and militarily bullied us and sabotaged Sino- Bhutan Border Talks.  And  their official Agencies and media outlets engaged in relentless campaign of propaganda to convince the world that  Bhutan is a protectorate state of India.  And to add insult to injury, India shamelessly tells the world that this very clause 2 provides for her aggression against Bhutan.

India has used all the strong arm tactics and superior media and diplomatic clouts at her disposal to achieve her objective. The world accepts what the powerful and the influential dictates. And India, Japan, America trios are powerful and influential.  Do Bhutanese Political Parties care even a little for our Nation?

Bhutan has been humiliated, our land encroached upon and the dignity of our deeply respected Kings guttered. 

The revised Treaty of 2007 further abolished the clause in the 1949 Treaty that required Indian guidance for Bhutanese external affairs. Further it also abolished the clause that required India to pay yearly to Bhutan a cash annuity for the Duars annexed by British India.  The 1949 Treaty was  a copycat of Singchula Treaty between Bhutan and British Raj of India,  Bhutan had signed this Treaty in duress with a superior armed British India.  

Against such a back drop of national crisis, what did Bhutanese Political Parties do to defend the dignity of the nation and the Kings and our very cherished sovereignty?  Nothing. Not a word has been spoken by any damned Political Parties of Bhutan. What fine sleazy excuse did some people make? They said something like,  Oh! Leave it to the wise leadership of the King and the Government.

Don't Bhutanese Political Parties think that His Majesty the King needs public support. We are living in a wide open world. Even the wisest and the most able leaders be it the Prime Minister or the King need public expression of support in a democratic world.  All political parties in  India are backing their Government. The world watches while the Bhutanese Political Parties particularly DNT engages in back stabbing the nation.

DNT has declared that it has the support of all Political Parties and goodwill of Bhutanese media in its campaign against the Bhutanese Government. This is likely to be an act of  treason. And I hope the relevant authority in this case the Judiciary of Bhutan does not shy away from its constitutional duty. The High Court must nib the bud immediately before this blatant anti- nation pro India disrupting move gathers force.

DNT declaration says, " Nation First ". Let me ask which Nation?  Bhutan or India?

DNT says , " almost pinching on the legal Sovereignty of our Nation ". Let me ask " What kind of politics is this"? Who is pinching whom?

And let me bare the truth. The sovereignty of Bhutan was not "almost pinched", it was punched at Doklam. What did any Political Party say or do? All self-serving jackals parading in self esteem and shamelessly engaged in enacting Indian political drama at the High Court.

All innocent members of  DNT Party and responsible true Bhutanese citizens should get together and close down this Indian Front of a Political Party which is jeopardising the sovereignty of Bhutan.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Kuensel Editor fires off a wrong shot. That too about the Constitution.

On the subject of Kuensel editorial ( today the 18th August )  on Fiscal Incentives and questioning constitutionality of the Cabinet request to the Speaker. Perhaps Kuensel has shot itself in the foot this time. A pity after the much appreciated last two prior editorials on " Table tours "

Looks like a " table editorial " meaning a piece devoid of the slightest effort to examine the context and procedures for approaching His Majesty the King  for exercise of Royal Pre- rogative in commanding Supreme Court's review /opinion on constitutional matters.

The editorial maintains that the Cabinet overlooked ( meaning  breached ) the Constitution in making this request to quote  "  the Speaker to consider seeking the Supreme Court's interpretation on Fiscal Incentives granted before May 8." Unquote.

This allegation against the Cabinet is way off the mark. Seeking interpretation of Supreme Court on matter of Fiscal Incentives is a legistive issue.Therefore such a request has to be routed through  the Parliament. The Government cannot directly approach His Majesty the King on legislative matters. Thus the Cabinet request to the Speaker for consideration.

The Cabinet request in no way breaches  the Royal Pre- rogatives incorporated in  the Constitution. If the Speaker deems the Cabinet request worthy of action then he will follow the due Parliamentary established procedure  for approaching His Majesty the King in seeking Supreme Court opinion on the Fiscal Incentives granted prior May 8.  

Many Bhutanese individual and Agencies have been quick on harping about Constitutionalities of many things. And Kuensel jumps into the same fervour blindfolded. Most unfortunate. Constitution is sacred.  Not a tool for expression of everyday grievances. 

I wrote 3 articles on Fiscal Incentives controversies in my blog on 24th June, 27th June and finally on 6th July.  After having heard both the PM and OL live on BBS, I pointed out that the landmark Supreme Court Judgement has to be re- visited again because in so far as I recall that judgement did not take away the authority of the Government to grant Fiscal Incentives.

The Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay maintained that Government had the authority till Parliament endorsed Fiscal Incentives as Money Bill. The Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho maintained that Government had the authority ( meaning DPT Cabinet ) till the day  the Supreme Court Judgement was  passed on the 1st Constitutional Court Case " Opposition versus the Government " on taxation procedure.

The present Cabinet's request to the Speaker for Supreme Court's interpretation is similar to my stand that the landmark judgement needs to be revisited to resolve the difference in the proper understanding of the judgement by both the PDP and DPT Parties. Two completely different  interpretation of a landmark judgement is uncommon if not down right rediculous.  This was dealt exhaustively in my article of 6th July, 2017 under the title , " The Fiscal. Incentives the flashing constitutional controversy in Bhutanese Politics."

It is difficult to write 6 editorials a week and I respect the dilemmas between temptations of  controversies and substantive subjects. An Editor of Kuensel unlike other Papers we have in Bhutan, has to pass a different standard that can only come with much collective  experiences on the editorial desk. That's why I miss Mr. Phuntsho Wangdi the very hard working former Kuensel Editor the  quiet unassuming person that he was in personality and a giant that he represented in the field of editorials. He is a man whom any editor could get coaching from.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Paro Airport Parking Fee. Starting a debate. Join in please.

Few facts to lay the ground clear.

1. It is not levied by Druk Air or Tashi Air.
2. It would be levied by Air Port Management under Civil Aviation Authority of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
3. The parking fee seems to have been introduced mainly to generate revenue not
to decongest limitted parking space. The fee is very high compared to Bhutanese minimum daily wage. Therefore lacks rationality.
4. Also the Nu:100 is collected almost like an entry fee. Not a minute is given free for passenger to get out of the vehicle with the luggage in case of drop off. That automatically hikes up taxi fares.

Question. 

1. Now should airline passengers have the right to be picked up and drop off services  at Paro Airport free of being financially burdened further with parking fee for vehicle that  provide this indispensable service ?

Answer:

It all depends on why passengers have to pay airport tax? This tax is incorporated in the airfare when the ticket is bought and the same would be deposited by the Airlines with the Civil Aviation Authority.  That tax should cover the use of parking space for reasonable period and purpose.

In my opinion, pick up and drop off at airport should be free of parking fee for the 1st 15 minutes. Or else the parking fee has to be reduced to Nu: 25 for first 30 minutes whichever is convenient to implement.

Question.

2. What about  the free parking area provided some distance away? Does not that take care of the those who cannot afford to pay the exorbitant parking fee of Nu: 100 as soon as you enter the area and then keeps escalating after first 15 minutes?

Answer.

Agree that it is very thoughtful of the Air Port Management to provide free parking space even though some distance away. However, the Management has structured the facility in a way to discourage usage.

According to those using the free space:

a) there is no trolley to transport the luggages. Trolleys are available only at paid parking area.

b) The free parking area is cut off from any information regarding flights.  You are kept in the dark about flight delays or arrivals.

3. There is no restroom facility ( even pay toilet) which is essential.

So it is not just the distance but the overall customer unfriendliness that is designed to discoursge usage but meets the namesake " free parking space " publicity. 

Question.

3. Airlines pay fees for use of Airport facilities. There are many others including restaurants who rent spaces at airport to provide services related to passengers.   Does not these direct and indirect incomes plus airport tax on passengers themselves add up to providing the basic need of free parking facility for pick up and drop services for the passengers for at  least 3O minutes?

Answer.

I feel that 10 minutes for cars and 20  minutes for bus for drop off service and for receiving service 30 minutes for cars and 60 minutes for buses should be free of parking charge. Or the charges should be reasonable at Nu: 25 for cars and Nu:50 for buses for above indicated time period if total free parking is unaffordable for the Authority.

Observations:

It is not just Civil Aviation but almost all Agencies never take into considerations the minimum wage factor when considering fees or fines. Socio- economic concept like minimum wage is wholely ignored or not understood as a basic parameter for monetary impositions.  Somehow Bhutanese regulators are anti social class and very much for creating / reserving amenities only for the elite class usage. There are many poorer groups who may own cars not individually but as a family and that too second or third hands. Such cars also need parking space and they are majority in number.

Regarding parking issues at Paro Airport, the Ministry of Communication and Information  can give an impartial guidance. The honourable Secretary and His Excellency the Minister could easily decide on an appropriate approach. Airport Parking space need not have to be the gold mine of the Civil Aviation Authority.