Few Bhutanese are now sharing on FB with relish an old article on Bhutan America India relation written by Matthew F.Ferraro in December, 2014. Someone even captioned it , 'must read '. I like the fact that there are readers of lengthy articles but it will do well to think over, too.
Do not just read the article. Comprehension is vital. The writer Matthew F. Ferraro endorses Indian Military presence in Bhutan and condemns ' supposed Chinese occasional encroachment '. Therefore is he advocating Indo- American interest or Bhutanese national interest ? What is it that impressed those Bhutanese who took a glance over the article ?
The writer says Chinese influence in Bhutan will not solve ethnic issue in Bhutan but American influence will be good for lhotsampas. That is a fact. America has provided home to majority of the refugees of Jaffa in Nepal. Most would rather go to America than China to make a living for the simple reason of the English language. But is Mathew Ferraro suggesting that America can offer Lhotsampas in Bhutan a choice to settle in America ? Many other Bhutanese are also desperately looking for a visa to America.
There is no doubt in my mind about accessibility to America for Bhutanese to study or work if closer ties comes about between Bhutan and America. I am quite sure Prime Minister of Bhutan His Excellency Tshering Tobgay and American Secretary of State His Excellency John Kerry covered such grounds in their Gujarat Meet in India. The carrot is there but is Bhutanese Leadership prepared to spear head an Indo- American proxy war against China in South Asia. Will the Bhutanese people rally with the same spirit of nationalism as in 1962 in the absence of any real threat from China towards Bhutan ? How does Bhutan benefit from playing the India America containment game against China ?
Yes, Bhutan has ethnic issues but Bhutan should exercise a united national conscience policy to develop harmony in diversity. Does Bhutan still need a big brother push to positively act upon the smouldering ethnic issue ?
I feel Bhutan must remain a faithful non-aligned nation and not choose sides in aggressive manner and oppose China. It is not in the national interest of Bhutan to Play off India versus China or play off China versus America. If America and India are genuine friends of Bhutan and care for Bhutanese interests then they should not obstruct Sino Bhutan relationship. China has not told Bhutan to send Indian Military back. Nor did China object to Kerry and Tobgay Meeting. When China respects Bhutanese sovereignty, why is it difficult for India and America to reciprocate in like manner?
Indo -Bhutan relationship will remain number one for a long time to come. But let us be pragmatic not nationally blind. There is the need for Bhutan to have diplomatic relations with both America and China the two universal economic and military giants.
India uses Bhutan to irritate China and America along with India hopes to thwart any diplomatic relationship between Bhutan and China. In other South Asian Nations such Indo- American policy had failed. These powerful nations adopt such policies simply to spite China. It is too late for India and America to contain China in South Asia. What a deception joke for Bhutan. Only Bhutan in South Asia Region is completely under the shade of
Indian tri-colour umbrella which is propped up by the American Eagle.
Recall what happened during the April, 2015 Nepal Earthquake. Nepal had to ask all foreign Aid Agencies to leave Nepal after an Indian military helicopter flew too close to Chinese border and an American military helicopter crashed too near the Nepal China border. Nepal was in dire distress but Nepal did not want to be put in a position of inadvertantly waging a Indo- American irritant war with China. Therefore , Nepal ordered all foreign forces out even though the nation did need assistance of every kind. But why risk sovereignty for foreign economic help.
What has Bhutan gained by ignoring China ? Why do all other SAARC nations have diplomatic and booming trade relationships with China? Why does India have over 70 billion dollar annual trade with China? Why is America in Chinese debt to the tune of over several trillion dollars. The Bhutanese democratic leadership may have personal and political strategic reasons to play the pawn for the time being but Bhutanese in general must remove the shade that obscure their sight.