I came across an article in Times of India of 26th June, 2013 titled “Bhutan’s road to democracy leads to China?” I have made my comments subject to limitations imposed by the Times of India webpage. The following is my full comment.
I think it is an insult to Indo-Bhutan friendship and trust and a display of Indian media’s arrogance and ignorance. The worse thing is that the article expounds the same theme that few unscrupulous Bhutanese politicians have accused the 1st democratic Prime Minister of Bhutan, “complicating relation with India by meeting Chinese Premier”. We have in Bhutan our own brand of hungry politicians the likes of Kazi Lhendup Dorjees who are ever ready to trample genuine national long term interests to achieve personal short term political ambitions. Therefore the article is an unwelcome attempt to interfere into the internal affairs of Bhutan during the 2nd General Election.
What audacious assumptions the writer makes when he states to quote, “it now appears that the King wasn’t quite in the loop as Bhutan expanded its diplomatic ties with 53 countries, as against 22 in 2008, as well as its overture to Beijing.” Where does he think the King of Bhutan was in the last 5 years? And how come Indian leaders were not aware of Bhutan’s attempt to gain a non-permanent seat at the Security Council. I thought it was pursued at the behest of India. How does Bhutan achieve any UN ambition if she does not develop diplomatic relationships with other UN members and does not accord proper cognizance to China, her closest neighbour and a very influential permanent member of UN Security Council? The writer’s whole assertion seems to be a repeat of few very dangerous Bhutanese politicians who are ready to compromise the sovereignty of Bhutan in pursuit of personal political power. As a matter of record, it is not the task of any Bhutanese Prime Minister and government to loop the King. The democratically elected leaders are required to serve the people and national interests of Bhutan in the footsteps of the Kings of Wangchuck dynasty. His Majesty the King and the people of Bhutan are the real masters of the Prime Minister and any government elected. So no one especially our friends from India or our own ambitious politicians should attempt to sow discord between the King and the people who elect the government.
National interests of Bhutan have to rise over and above the politics of always playing the Indian tune. We are not just good neighbours of India. We are a good and reliable friend of India. But Bhutan and Bhutanese are sovereignty unto our self. Therefore Bhutan’s paramount national interests and affairs just cannot be only pleasing India. We have to please ourselves too!
Why do Indian media and politicians want to castrate Bhutan for the most harmless relationship effort with China? Just the other day, I heard a rumour of a bureaucrat of India chastising Bhutanese leadership of being “dishonest”. What the hell is that suppose to mean? Which national leaders and governments bare its soul to another nation? We are not paid sex workers that benefactors need to know when our eyelashes and asses move and in which direction.
In a kingdom of 600,000 population, we have in Bhutan around 200,000 Indians in the forms of Indian Military teams, Indian Border Road Organizations (Para-military force), contractors, business firms, workers etc.. Almost all our imports are from India and all our water resources are harnessed for mutual benefit of the two countries. Bhutan is heavily dependent on Indian goodwill and financial assistance. All Bhutanese realize that our livelihoods have improved greatly beyond our wildest dreams because of the generosity of Indian Government and Indian people in the last 50 years.
Pray! Tell me what more testimony does Indian politicians and Indian media and for that matter even our own India hawkers need to underline the dependence and trust of Bhutan upon India?
So what if Bhutan endeavors to improve its relation with China? We do not wish China to take a morning walk over Bhutan. And in my humble view, maybe it would be a big relief if we can get some financial assistance to cover shortages in planned budget equivalent to र 242B for the 11th five year plan. Bhutanese media is already expressing government’s fear that existing donors including most generous India is yet to commit fund for the 11th FYP. Leaving aside my personal thought on financial assistance, India, I think can rest reassured that there will be no Chinese presence in Bhutan replacing Indian Military Training Teams (Imtrat) and Indian-Para-military force (Dantak). The hydropower projects would still be cherished joint ventures of Indo-Bhutan. And there is not a China man residing in Bhutan verses more than 200,000 Indian friends living and rendering assistance to Bhutan.
There is constant talk of delay in release of project tied finance and other committed fund from India (including र 4.2B for the 10th FYP which ends on 30th June, 2013) every time Bhutan or Bhutanese leadership acts to preserve national interest. It sounds more like a benefactor tightening the purse string whenever the mistress is unable to comply with every whims of his fancy.
The first line of the article “Bhutan’s road to democracy leads to China?” states to quote, “what’s arguably India’s only friendly neighbour, Bhutan”. It speaks volumes of Indian politicians and Indian media attitude. If you keep dictating and bullying, there will be no neighbours, only disgruntled and venomous nations surrounding India.
Bhutan is not just a friendly neighbour. We are India’s friend and I, for one wish Bhutan to remain so. So treat Bhutan as a friend, not as pawn to be manipulated for every whatever reason. Stop herding us like lambs in a Penn to be slaughtered whenever India desires a dish of lamb stew.