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.

 

Friday, August 11, 2017

An authoritarian India tends to be overbearing upon her neighbours.

Many wise words were spoken by late Lyonpo Dawa Tsering. His Excellency was the Foreign Minister of Bhutan for nearly three decades. A learned leader who encompassed qualities of much  intelligence and stately adroitness.  I particularly recall his explanatory submission as Foreign Minister to the honourable members of the National Assembly of Bhutan who were perplexed and frustrated by many unfriendly acts of the Government of India under Emergency Rule (1975 to 1977). His Excellency said that when an authoritarian Government is in power, that nation also tends to adopt an overbearing attitude towards the weaker neighbours. Bhutan must exercise political skill and fortitude. How so very true! May His Excellency rest in Peace.

Fortunately, by the infinite Grace of our Deities, the leadership our Great 4th King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and wise counsels, Bhutan warded off the fate that befell upon Sikkim just before Emergency rule in India.  It was closer than a dangerous state of affairs. I think His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk had an apt description of that state in the 1970s  during the public constitutional consultations in 2007. The King put it as , " like a leaf tossing on a swollen river ". His Majesty who was not born then, must have learned of the crisis of the 1970s from his illustrious father.

India is once again ready to flex her national muscle in the region. And each time that happens, the testing guinea pig is Bhutan. This is what happened at Doklam.The NDA Government headed by BJP is at its zenith of power in India. The Indian Prime Minister His Excellency Narendra Modi is sweeping the whole of India under his charismatic personality backed by the Merlin type of political wizard Shri Amit Shah. The combination of the two is recording astonishing  political history in India. To the historians later, it might be a period of dusk black or dust gold.

This time India decided Doklam as a pretext to declare Bhutan a "Protectorate state"  and attempted to establish complete hegemony over our Kingdom.  China was not the ultimate objective of Indian military adventurism at Doklam. It was Bhutan. Fortunately, China stood firmly against Bhutan being converted into solely an Indian buffer cushion and protectorate state.  Thus when so definitely and decisively  confronted by China, India had to decide to withdraw and await perhaps another favourable day to overwhelm Bhutan.

In public domain,  Bhutan stood stoically silent this time. The behind the scene had to be rather frenzy. Our Kings ( both the Majestic Son and the Father ) had to be  engaged in some feverish survival diplomacy whilst our Monastic institutions were in deep Prayers. The two Royal and Spiritual  Institutions together are responsible for peace, happiness and security of Bhutan and her people. The democratic Government main task  is to implement successfully the 5 year development plans and ensure economic prosperity and fair governance.

The Indian Army withdrawl has be done in an acceptable public drama so as to freeze verbal attacks by the Oppositions in the Indian Parliament.  So Indian Army  plans to withdraw on the basis of Bhutan Army taking over their role. But on the ground, it is not possible for Bhutan Army to replace transgressing Indian troops on Chinese controlled Doklam.  Further, to even theoretically agree, is placing Bhutanese sovereignty in grave future danger. As that will make it appear that India secured an area at Doklam for Bhutan. An act of what India claims protecting Bhutanese territory from China.

My humble advice to India is to withdraw and acclaim publicly that Bhutanese Army is taking over the role. And Bhutan continue her public silence. China would be happy with the retreat. And no one is going to be wiser at the  ground level. Remote Doklam is away from prying eyes. It is two days hard trek through mountain ravines from the motorable road point on Bhutan side. In hindsight, if only China so generously continued the road extension into our land  for our use. 

The true political picture is that  Bhutanese land is not needed to be protected by a third power and India winds up her adventurism of the century. This time, Bhutan retains her status quo of a sovereign Kingdom. May the people of Bhutan, China and India be blessed with compassionate and sensible leaders though not necessarily in alphabetical order as I try to maintain fairness.   

Many years after Emergency Rule in India, when Her Excellency Indra Gandhi was shot down by her security guard, an Indian Army General was supposed to have exclaimed, " how bloody lucky for Bhutan ".  So it's possible that such scheming Indian leaders do not give up easily upon clutching Bhutan in their claws. Still I do not wish them the fate of India Indra. But for Bhutan, I pray that the our omniscient powerful Deities keep under the radar of their thunder bolts those who pose danger upon the " Land of Pelden Drukpa."

Pelden Drukpai Lha Gyel Lo !

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Strategy behind India's Doklam transgression: Here is the Ugliness.

On 29th July 2017, an article on Doklam Standoff was published in OneIndia News. The writer Vicky Nanjappa a senior Correspondent quoting " highly placed sources" wrote.  To quote : 

1. " For Bhutan, India guarantees its security through the 2007 Friendship Treaty." 

This statement is a reiteration of the recent Indian Government stand that Bhutan is a " Protectorate state " of India.
Not at all acceptable to Bhutan and far from ground realities.  

2 " Bhutan has allowed access to Indians on its territory."

This statement alludes to the forceful encampment of Indian troops on the Bhutanese side of disputed Doklam Plateau after confrontation with Chinese construction party.

Now one can understand why India claimed first that they " were requested by Bhutan Army"  and later changed to " in coordination with Bhutan Army " and possibly after my blog which rubbished such ludicrous claims, India declared that they were " protecting the security of their so called chicken neck". India has no right of whatsoever to station Indian Army combat troops on Bhutanese side of Doklam or the disputed area.

Actually India's real goal was to engulf  Bhutan because they used the Doklam intrusion to declare:

1. That Bhutan is a " Indian protectorate state ." That's what India said of Sikkim before submerging her.

2. India chose to brandish the 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty wherein it was stated that Bhutan's foreign affairs was to be guided by India. That clause was removed in the 2007 revised 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty. Bhutan opted to conduct her foreign affairs independently and had never sought Indian guidance.  However, this time during Doklam crisis, India refused to recognise Bhutan' s right to her own independent foreign policy. 

3. India made claims about a "security pact" with Bhutan.There is no such pact. Nothing in the knowledge of the Bhutanese Parliament or the people. 

The Royal Bhutan Government or the Royal Bhutan Army whose Supreme Commander is His Majesty the King would never have agreed to India's interference  into the Bhutan- China Border Talks especially by use of military force. Bhutan is a small nation. We have to find peaceful means. Involving Indian Government or Indian Army is the shortest route to national suicide.

Let me relate following historical decisions of the Kings of Bhutan to demonstrate how wary Bhutan had always been of silent takeover by the  powerful neighbourly friend called India. 

1. In 1962 during Sino- India war, the 3rd King of Bhutan granted safe passage to Indian soldiers fleeing Arunachal through Eastern Bhutan to India only after the soldiers surrendered their rifles at Tashigang Dzong. This demonstrates that Bhutan does not welcome armed combat troops even that of India. .   

2. In 2003, India offered combat troops to Bhutan to fight Indian militant groups.  There is already IMTRAT the training wing of Indian Army in Bhutan.They are supposed to be unarmed and therefore, not in the category of regular fighting force.

His Majesty the 4th King was not sure whether his own force could expel the militant groups. After all, the greater numbered militants were also battle hardened and well armed.  But His Majesty was sure of one reality. That was if he accepted combat troops of Indian Army into the Kingdom, that would be the end of sovereign Bhutan. So the King took the less evil option. The offer of Indian Army was declined. And His Majesty decided to lead in person the Royal Bhutan Army to expel the various groups  like ULFA ,  BODO and  KLO Indian militants camped in the thick jungles of Southern Bhutan.

The People and the Government of Bhutan was fearful for the personal safety of the royal being and tried to dissuade the King. But His Majesty's response revealed how deeply he had pondered. The King said, " If I am not there in the field to look after my brave soldiers, the slim chance that we have in defeating the militants is lost. And a defeat in the battle field means the lost of Bhutan. Therefore, the danger to the Bhutanese nation and the throne is more imminent if I stay behind."  Thus began the " Operation All Clear " under His Majesty's personal command.  And all militant groups were successfully cleared out from Bhutan by the Bhutan Army. The defeat of the Indian militant groups by the Bhutanese Army stunned the Indian Army to silent reverence.The feat surpassed all dictates of art of army war- fares.

Considering such super human sacrifices made by the people and Kings of Bhutan, it would be crazy to seek Indian intervention at Doklam. Indian Army had simply bull dozed in  unannounced. An invasion at Doklam happened.

Initially it seemed that Bhutan was duped by Indian action at Doklam. Maybe Bhutan just  meekly succumbed to Indian aggression on the border front and diplomatic arm twisting on the foreign affairs front. Bhutan complained to China and even issued a Press Release that 
were in line with political ploy of India.Thankfully Bhutan, ultimately, recognised betrayal signs and decided to stand her ground. Bhutan refused to condone Indian transgression at Doklam. If she had , next thing Thimphu, Paro and Haa would have been flooded with Indian combat troops and war machinaries on the pretext of enevitability of Chinese invasion. From the day one of transgression at Doklam, vociferous Indians and even few treacherous pro-Indian Bhutanese voices were crying aloud about the danger posed by China from Doklam to the  northern Valleys of Haa, Paro and Thimphu. Doklam is actually part of Samtse Dzongkhag in the South.  Most Bhutanese did not even hear of name of the remote mountsin Plateau till then. And ironically if such evil people had their ways, before China or even most Bhutanese woke up, Bhutan could have been another Sikkim.

Bhutan is weak and small to physically  challenge the might of India.  However, by all international standard, Bhutan should have cried " foul" against India for the transgression into Bhutanese controlled Doklam territory by armed troops of India.

This is the reason why China has been  demanding that Indian Army withdraw from the present positions or there will be an all out war. China had declared in no uncertain term that this transgression was very different in nature and intent from all other China- India border skirmishes. India was defying China from a third country territory. Therefore, China is threatening to attack wherever Indian Army is. Which means all of Indian land, sea and even Bhutan the unwilling host of Indian Army at the Tri Junction. I feel that any nation not just China, has the sovereign and moral rights  to take firm and effective retaliatory action against such treacherous conduct. 

But even in her deep humiliating state of silent distress and perhaps in dismayed betrayal confusion, Bhutan found the political sanity not to cower down to the level of condoning Indian transgression into Bhutan as well as into the Chinese Doklam. And that stumped the Indian touted position " protecting Bhutan from China "  that India tried hard selling to the international community. India is not protecting Bhutan. India is trying to engulf Bhutan on premeditated pretext.  

I had earlier said that Doklam incident may be the working of our Deities. And strangely it might turn out to be  just that. India did not bargain upon China's determination for an all out war in 5 fronts for this Indian act of treachery at Doklam. India it seems was planning for a limitted war.  However, to the Chinese, a limitted war restricted to Doklam only, would in any case sabotage the Chinese goal of One Belt Road Initiative and further compromise the buffer status of Bhutan in India's favour. If a war must happen with India, it made more sense for China to have a full scale war at all 5 fronts ( Bhutan-Sikkim, Arunachal, Kashmir, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal).  That would be a decisive war worth risking.

It seems that both America and Japan have no appetite for such a large scale war stretching from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. During the recent Malabar naval and air war exercises conducted concurrently with Doklam crisis by America, India and Japan, China sent 13 war ships plus submarines to convey a definitive message to the tiresome three. In addition the new aircraft carrier of China was docked at Hong Kong to get Japanese attention. Personally, I hope Japan had nothing to do, even remotely, with Doklam venture. Bhutan and Japan enjoy the highest of regards between people and the Royal Houses.

A short limitted war between India and China suited Western armament industries and American policy of containing China. Or at the least distracting China from One Belt Road Initiative and South China Sea.  But an all out global war where even Russia could get involved was a No No. Thus it appears that India left on her own, has been forced to capitulate after the sneaky transgression.

India had quietly amassed huge forces at Sikkim and Siliguri Chicken neck in preparation for a limitted war at Doklam to quote an Indian writer, " to give a bloody nose to China " who was caught off guard at Doklam. India wanted to establish full and complete hegemony over  Bhutan through a short brief war at Doklam.  Not a full scale five front war.  
 
The same correspondent Vicky Nanjappa also revealed how India was now going about to resolve the Standoff at Doklam. To quote him :

" It is a complex situation and India at best would withdraw troops on the pre-condition that it is replaced by the forces from Bhutan."  Similar political view has been again repeated in The Indian Express by Sushant Singh on 4th August ( today) .

What this means is that the Indian Security Advisor Ajit Doval had conveyed to Beijing the willingness of Indian Army to withdraw from Bhutan and China Doklam. 

Nanjappa's above statement is couched in diplomatic face saving graceful language.
China would never accept Bhutanese Army in place of Indian Army in the Chinese controlled Doklam territory. So it had to be a reference to Indian Army vacating Bhutan controlled Doklam territory which would subsequently leave only Bhutanese patrolling contigent behind. Naturally that would suit Bhutan. 

But simple withdrawl from Doklam would not have appeased the most infuriated Chinese PLA. So the offer had to be accompanied by the  commitment not to interfere into the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks as well as never again encroach into Chinese controlled Doklam or attempt to station Indian combat troops on Bhutanese territory at the Tri- Junction or other Sino- Bhutan Borders. Some hints are already reflected in The Indian Express article today.

I just hope and pray that Bhutan signs the Border Agreement with China and establish diplomatic relation, too. That would be a fitting Majestic response from Bhutan to the blatant Indian arrogance and aggression.  I do not care for China but for Bhutan such an Agreement would elevate Bhutan amongst the international community. And Bhutan will never be so readily trampled over and alleged to be a " Protectorate State" under India.

India twisted the friendship language of  the 2007 Treaty that distanced Bhutan from India to that of further subjugation and proclaimed Bhutan as her " Protectorate state". Such stands have wounded both Bhutanese national status and caused lasting damage to the golden Throne. In one single stroke, India callously blackened the legacy of the 4th King who got the 1949 Indo-Bhutan Treaty  revised in 2007 and the reigning King who signed the Treaty. In doing so, India explicitly implied that the Kings of Bhutan are her surrogates reigning Bhutan under the Indian guarantees. Not as sovereign Kings of a sovereign Kingdom.

The established historical fact is that Wangchuck Dynasty of Bhutan was established in 1907 exactly 40 years before India even got her independence from the British Raj. Now Bhutan has to find a dignified way to stand up and regain lost honour. No need to ask IMTRAT AND DANTAK to leave. We hold genuine friendship for Indian people and real  appreations for economic aids and transit passages.  Let's simply elevate Bhutan to equal neighbourly status and realistic friendship terms with both India and China. Time and events are calling upon Bhutanese leadership to act with courage and speed. Bhutan needs to sign the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement and open embassies with China. All can then rest easier with recovered dignity.

Pelden Drukpa! Gyel Lo!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The status of Doklam and other disputed areas on the Sino- Bhutan Border.

There is Doklam Tri-Junction in South Western Sino-  Bhutan Border.  Then there is at North- Western Sino- Bhutan Border places like Sha-kha-Toe, Drama-na, Singchu-Lum etc. and at North-Central Sino- Bhutan Border Passa-Lum. 

In the last several weeks since the Doklam Transgression, few Indian media print houses and political analysts, some even quoting Bhutanese sources,  have been propagating a deliberately fabricated narrative about Doklam.

The fabricated  narrative states that at one time, China had offered a large area concession at disputed North-Central Sino- Bhutan Border in exchange for smaller area concession by Bhutan at Doklam. This is a blatant lie. It is a  propaganda material developed among China and Bhutan haters. 

I presume that this fabricated narrative is propagated with the intent to cast doubts on China's claim at Doklam and at the same time to support India's false claim that Indian Army was protecting Bhutanese interest. For true Bhutanese hearts, the decision of the Indian Army to transgress into the Sino- Bhutan Doklam territory was far more alarming and a deliberate act of under-mining Bhutanese sovereignty.    

I am not that worried about the road repair or extension by China though big and powerful that she is.  Afterall, both nations are engaged in reaching a concensus on differing claims through numerous rounds of cordially held Talks.  That's what negotiations are all about. And if final demarcation puts the road area under Bhutan then we have a ready road for use. If not then it is Chinese road.  

But definitely, Bhutan does not have to accept India's derogatory attitudes like their rediculous claim that " Bhutan Army asked Indian Army help " and the Indian boastful  proclamation of Bhutan being " Protectorate state "  and thereby  insinuating that Bhutanese King is reigning under Indian wing of protection. All directed to humiliate and shred away  Bhutanese sovereignty as part of the Indian strategy of Doklam transgression.      

For the record, the talk of " land swap " during early Sino- Bhutan Talks ( 1989-1992 ) was related to China offering the much larger  disputed area at North-Central Sino-Bhutan Border for the  smaller disputed area at North-Western Sino- Bhutan Border. Many senior Bhutanese people especially former National Assembly Representatives may recall place names like Shakha Toe, Drama-na and Singchu- Lum at  North-Western Sino - Bhutan Border ( north of Haa Dzongkhag ) and Passa-Lum at North- Central Sino- Bhutan Border (northern of  Bumthang Dzongkhag).

Based on geographical water shed features and naturally the closeness to strategic Chumbi Valley, China was prepared to accept the smaller disputed area at North- Western Sino- Bhutan Border region and have Bhutan take the doubly larger disputed area at the North-Central Sino- Bhutan Border region. However, Bhutan preferred her share of each disputed region.This was not opposed by China and accordingly negotiation have been progressing smoothly.

Actually, I was most relieved with that decision of the Royal Government. As a Bhutanese, I guess larger chunk of land is more preferable but as a Haap, my sentiment is deep for the smaller chunk. As a child, I remember my soldier Dad telling us that the real un- negotiable enemy at the border post at Singchu-Lum was the freezing icy wind not the Chinese soldiers. I have not been there but Singchu-Lum is part of my growing up unforgettable memory. I am willing to fire a bullet or take a bullet for my memory.

For Bhutan, strategic value is same and grazing pasture land which is our main concern for our yak herders, would be achieved if we went for the " land  swap". But yak herders of Haa would lose out to yak herders of Bumthang. However, I guess for our supposed friend India, any land near Chumbi Valley is very strategic. I do not know whether Bhutan based her final decision on Indian security interest or the interest of Yak herders of Haa. I would like to think that the welfare of Haaps mattered.

Traditionally the Kings of Bhutan always paid extra attention to the welfare of the people living at high altitude Valleys like Haa, Gasa and Bumthang known as Laa-Gang-Sum. Those days even special concessions were built into the tax structure of the nation to favour such Dzongkhags. 

Doklam Tri-Junction was not even part of the Sino-Bhutan Border Talks when the " land swap" was out on the table. Bhutanese must differentiate facts from fallacies. Let others with dubious intentions play with imaginations and falsehoods.  

I am of the opinion that even at Doklam,  after the 24th round of Talks, concensus had been reached between Bhutan and China. We common citizens have duties to voice valid concerns. And as always, place our faith in the Government and especially our People's King His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck to protect our hereditary land along with the concerns of the people. Bhutan's priority would be " to protect and preserve " hereditary land. Not engage in meddling or shaping security interests of China or India. 

As always we must pray that the Triple Gem Bless our Kingdom and the national Leadership especially our King at the helm with good health and great wisdom and fortitude.  Pelden Drukpa Lha Gyel Lo !

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Negotiating from the position of strength.

American offical policy towards North Korea: 

"Axis of Evil " declared President Bush. 

"We are not your enemy" confirms Tillerson Secretary of State.

What caused the change in American policy towards North Korea ? The answer is ICBM. It is always better to negotiate from the position of strength. That was American maxim which North Korea adopted to the hilt.

After the second ICBM tests, America tells North Korea. To quote:

"We do not seek regime change. We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula. We do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,"

"We are not your enemy, we are not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond," Tillerson said, speaking to North Korea directly. "We would like to sit and have a dialogue about the future."

May the Pacific Rim realise the dawn of permanent peace.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

To all within and outside Bhutan and India the truth of Bhutan- India Relation Status.

It  all began with Indian Prime Minister His Excellency  Pandit Jawaharlal  Nehru's arduous journey to  Bhutan in 1958.  I often wondered why a 68 year old PM of India had to trek on foot, on horse back and ride Yaks to come to meet the King of Bhutan. The King of Bhutan much younger in age 29 years and mountain fit physically could have travelled to New Delhi.

Then much later I came across a book by an Indian author who travelled with Nehru's party. In his book, he related that Nehru was surprised that the King of Bhutan accepted so little of what Nehru had to offer. It seems that the Dragon King was not that enthusiastic about opening up to India. No wonder the King did not choose to visit New Delhi. He was quite comfortable with the way things were both socially and politically within his Kingdom. The King had come upon the Throne in 1952. And immediately had shifted the Capital to Thimphu. Then constituted the  National Assembly to give voice to his people in the administration of the Nation. He also did away with the heavy taxes both material and labour. The King had already mapped out his reign.  He did not fear China or India.  But Prime Minister of India felt that he had to meet the King because the Kingdom of Bhutan was the vital  buffer state between China and India. And India needed the goodwill and friendship of Bhutan. 

In 1956, both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Panchen Lama of Tibet visited India to celebrate the 2500 years Buddha Jayanti. It was outwardly a religious visit but may have been a planned political visit though not that well  planned. (  I say " not so well planned " because it was during this visit that His Holiness the Panchen Lama lost faith in the Indian Government due to protocol insult ).  Between 1956 and 1958, development in Tibet did not go in the way India and her Western Allies had envisioned. And Prime Minister Nehru may have realised that with Tibet gone, India had to have Bhutan on Indian side or else whole of North Eastern States would fall into Chinese hand. 

It seems Nehru's trek to Bhutan had two purpose. One was that the King of Bhutan was not prepared to travel to New Delhi. So Nehru had to trek to Bhutan.

His Majesty the King of Bhutan was too shrewed a politician to take the Indian bait. The King was not going to publicly take sides in a regional tussle between China and India by going to Delhi. His Majesty may not have felt any urgency to seek Indian friendship or goodwill let alone  ( now much hyped ) protection as Indian of all shameful brand want the world to believe.

And the second purpose may have been to study the geographical layout of  Sino- Bhutan Border. ( The Indian PM was accorded a Chinese reception after crossing Nathu La probably in the vicinity of Doklam ).  Also Nehru would have wanted to study the strength and base of the Dragon King who refused invitation to New Delhi and who had nothing to discuss with Indian political emissaries including the Indian Political Officer in Sikkim.

There is an incredible scene documented by Indian documentary team.  One is of the King of Bhutan substituting his Bhutanese translator assigned to translate Nehru's speech to the Bhutanese public at Paro Ugyen Pelri Palace ground. The raised traditional  podium for Nehru's address to the Bhutanese nation is still preserved in its original form. His solemn commitment though has vanished with the wind. His Majesty had very good command of the Hindi language. In fact during his visit to India,  he addressed the Indian nation over All India Radio in Hindi to the astonishment of Indian heavy weights. 

Another scene that really got my adoring attention was the King hitting the target with both his arrows as PM Nehru watched on at the archery ground. Bhutanese believe that such domineering display of skill at such an occassion  demonstrated the dragon spirit of the Druk Gyalpo. The King was superbly confident and it seems Shri Pandit Nehru got the silent message. The Indian PM took pains to assure Bhutan that India was seeking friendship with an equally sovereign Bhutan. Size did not matter. I invite Indian political hawks to re- read the speech of their Prime Minister to the Bhutanese nation.

His Majesty died in 1972. Till then though the 1949 Treaty was not revised, the ground reality demonstrated that Bhutan only considered India an equal friend who sought Bhutanese friendship and goodwill  to secure her north-eastern states. Bhutan herself never seriously feared any Chinese invasion. Chinese troops did not follow the Tibetan refugees into Bhutan in 1959. And in 1962 again the Chinese troops at Arunachal did not violate the Bhutanese sovereign land at her Eastern border.

Diplomatic relation was established between India and Bhutan. The embassies were named Mission to illustrate close friendly ties. Not because of uneven relation between the strong and the weak.  It was in line with the nomenclature of  High Commission instead of Embassy nonemclature between former colonies of British Empire to illustrate closeness.  The Head of Missions in New Delhi and Thimphu were named  Represententatives with Plenipotentiary powers similar to High Commissioners and Ambassadors. Yet after His Majesty passed away, India started down grading the status of the Mission. And it took much effort on part of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk to change the Mission  to Embassy nonemclature to silence any further Indian political maneuvering. 

Today during Doklam crisis, Indian Agencies, Media and Analysts so freely declare that Bhutan is a " Protectorate of India". And this is happening in the reign of the Fifth King. India is repeating history to test the Dragon King on the Throne.

They have refused to acknowledge the status of 2007 revised 1949 Indo-Bhutan Treaty that reflected ground realities and the  demands of modern  political relationship between two nation states. The 2007 revision of 1949 Indo - Bhutan Treaty was hammered out between His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and His Excellency Prime Minister ManMohan Singh.  Indians now  claim that  the old clause of India managing external affairs of Bhutan still applies though the same was done away with in the revised Treaty.  I wonder what is the actual take of the two honourable Signatories of  the revised 2007 Treaty? The two Signatories were the the King of Bhutan His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck the Fifth King of Bhutan and His Excellency President Pranab Mukerjee of India in their official capacities as the Crown Prince of Bhutan  and Minister of External Affairs of India in 2007. The two eminent negotiators are still in good health and very much present in the political scenes of Bhutan and India.

How did Nehru's trek of 1958 solicitating the good will and friendship of Bhutan for the sole purpose of protecting the security of North Eastern Plains of India  change into that of the  Kingdom of Bhutan seeking protection and economic assistance from India? Who are responsible for such distortion of Bhutan- India Relationship? Why does Bhutan accept such distortion of historical events ?

The ongoing silence of Bhutanese leadership is not necessarily a cause for Bhutanese public to be anxious . But I hope we as a nation is gathering the courage to sign the Border Agreement with China and establish long awaited diplomatic relationship. Not that we do not value friendship with India. Not that we need the goodwill and protection of China. But to remove once and for all times this stigma of being called and treated by India as a " Protectorate State ". It is an insult to the Tsawa Sum ( The King, the Bhutanese nation and the Bhutanese People )  to be so off handedly humiliated to protectorate status.

India has slashed  the hand of friendship that His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck extended  to His Excellency Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru when he treked to Bhutan solicitating friendship and goodwill in 1958. As Defence Minister of India Shri Arun Jaitley  said, India is no longer the old India.  In her new found wealth and power, India forgot Bhutan of 1958 who befriended a desperate needy India.  

I have heard few Bhutanese people wondering about whether  Bhutanese national  Democratic leadership and Political Parties are ready to stand up to this onslaught upon Bhutanese sovereignty or simply are readying to ask for more Indian money to fill their personal coffers.  I have no idea what is going on in the silence of political darkness.  However, the Constitution has entrusted the security of the nation and the welfare of the citizens to one Institution- The King of Bhutan. So I guess all are awaiting in respectful silence.

I feel that India should not interpret this silence and lull in the Bhutanese polity as a sign of meekness. Sure Bhutan would hesitate a great deal because we had genuine friendship for  India. But no friendship warrants self suicide. The King of Bhutan owes it to the Throne, to the forefathers and to the solemn oath to protect and serve the Kingdom and her people to stand up to such blatant political aggression.  Accepting  " protectorate status quo " is only for people like late Kazi Lhendup Dorji of Sikkim. And he lived in hell whilst on this earth for his betrayal of the Kingdom of Sikkim.

Pelden Drukpa ! Lha Gyel Lo! May Triple Gem Bless our great King with the gift of good health, indomitable spirit and ocean of wisdom.

  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Doklam Standoff between China and India is more complex that what is made to appear.

The public may be under the impression that Indian soldiers are still at Doklam side claimed by China. That cannot be true.  Indian soldiers had gone into the disputed area between China and Bhutan upon which India has no claim of her own.  However, it is apparent that the Indian soldiers were pushed back and subsequently Chinese soldiers had entered the Indian line on Sikkim side and even destroyed few border post make do shelter of the Indian Army. So now both must be at their original post albeit with additional re- inforcement.

The video footages in fb of Chinese and Indian soldiers confronting each other are of different times and at different place , not at Doklam. The Indian Army has been very tight lipped about the present Doklam incident. Therefore, there is no chance of them sharing video footages.  

In the year 2012,  India and China had agreed not to interfere into border issues that India or China may have with  Bhutan or Burma ( Myanmar) at tri-junction boundaries.  And on that basis, the Border Agreement between Indian Sikkim and Chinese Tibet was finalised. It seems that both the Doklam status of China and the  Nathu La Trade Route Opening were part of several  overall understandings reached between India and China. Also during the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks, the Chinese position on Doklam Plateau was very clear and firm from the very beginning. Bhutan understood the  Chinese claim regarding Doklam.

This time at Doklam, India had breached that Bilateral Agreement and understandings between China and India when Indian soldiers  transgressed into Doklam. And now in retaliation, China is  abrogating that Agreement and demanding that Indian Army withdraw back from its existing position at Sikkim -Tibet border. China is insisting upon re-negotiating the Tibet- Sikkim border.

India had not expected such a strong reaction from China. And caught flat footed, tried to wriggle out of the tight corner by saying that Indian Army entered Doklam at the request of Bhutan Army. In other words declaring that Bhutan is a " Protectorate " of India. And projecting a international posture of India protecting  tiny Bhutan from a big bully China.

Bhutan naturally cannot support such blatantly invasive contention of India. Bhutan is a sovereign nation and member of UN. Not a "  Protectorate " of India.   And anyway China is not buying any such blabbering from India.

It appears that an overzealous Defence Ministry of India ordered the Indian Army intrusion into Doklam area. Maybe it was one strategy aimed at foiling Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement happening during the next Ministerial level Sino- Bhutan Border Meeting. It could also be an internal strategy of Defence Ministry officials to push through lucrative Defence Purchase Deals through hyping Sino- Indian conflicts at sensitive border points. Defence Deals worth billions of dollars could result in huge dividends for those making the Deals. And any sign of heightened tensions with China or Pakistan could hrlp to seal big defence related procurement Deals. 

Whatever the reasons may have been for the unprecedented transgression at Doklam, the Indian war hawks  had not  envisaged such a huge fallout upon the Sikkim -Tibet Border Agreement and the Kashmir conflict.  India had already breached part of understandings with China by playing up the Dalai Lama card at Arunachal. And Doklam intrusion sort of broke the camel back. Since the departure of the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to take up the post of Goa Chief Ministership, the Defence Ministry of India under Shri Arun Jaitley has been embarking upon a new defiant policy against China.

It is also quite clear that Indian Army Command was against such a confrontational move at Doklam.  But had followed the order issued by the Defence Ministry. The fallout from the foul up by the Defence Ministry has compelled Modi Cabinet to trim away Defence Ministry bureaucratic  powers and transfer the same to the Indian Army Command. Recently the strategic and defence powers including armament procurement authority of both the Chief and Deputy Chief of Indian Army have been considerably enhanced.  India may also find it necessary to appoint a full time new Defence Minister. Presently Shri Arun Jaitley is holding double portfolios of Finance and Defence Ministries. And that may have lead to war hawks at Defence Ministry taking over.   

India could be prepared to fight 2 and 1/2 wars at the same time. But this is turning out to be 5 and 1/2 wars. Chicken Neck, Arunachal,  Kashmir, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea plus that 1/2 meaning internal security. And America, Japan and Israel cannot be trusted to fight from Indian side against China in case of war. Going against three nuclear nations China, Pakistan and North Korea for sake of Indian interest alone is not sufficiently tempting for United States. And in any case, other world powers would love to see India and China bleed each other as they look upon from afar.  What America and other nations dread is the two Asian powers teaming up.

China was fully aware of behind the scene Indian pressures upon Bhutan in  Sino- Bhutan Border negotiations throughout the last 34 years and 24 rounds of Talks. But China could not take punitive action until India directly and openly showed her hand. And this time at Doklam, India unmasked herself. That was what China was waiting for. 

Now I think an Indian advance peace team is already in Beijing to be joined by Indian Security Advisor later. India is adopting a conciliatory approach to save the 2012 Sikkim- Tibet Border Agreement. The Indian Diplomat and Security Analyst Phunchuk Stobdan who recently authored the article  " India's Real Problem lies in its Foreign Policy, Not Border "  seems to be  also a member of the Indian advance team at Beijing. His article is a sign of conciliatory gesture from the Government of India.

The Doklam standoff crisis may dissipate  if India truly backs off from Sino- Bhutan Border negotiation and in other areas like opposing One Belt Road Initiative and stop playing up Dalai Lama card.  I hope all goes well between our giant neighbours. War is terrible for all of us.

There is no written security pact as such between India and Bhutan or Bhutan with China. However, if Bhutan is invaded by either India or China, one could rightly assume that the other giant neighbour will get involved because of their respective concerns for national security. For both India and China, Bhutan’s buffer status is very crucial and non- negotiable.  As of date,  Bhutan has a 2007 Treaty ( revised 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty)  with India which recognises each other' s sovereignty and declaration of friendship.  Likewise Bhutan has an Agreement with China which also spelts out respect for each country's sovereignty and declaration of friendship. 

In regards to Doklam crisis, I would  like to reiterate that I have always had tremendous faith in the working of the Deities. And I hopefully pray that what happened at Doklam this time is a way of the Deities to clear the path for  Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement. There is always a possibility of a silver lining to every dark cloud. I dare to be optimistic as well as forthright.

May Triple Gem watch over the Kingdom and guide our Leaders. Pelden Drukpa Gyel Lo ! Lha Gyel Lo !

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Truth of India and Bhutan Relationship versus China equation.

A lot of interest shown by Bhutanese fb friends in the article in fb post  " India's Real Problem lies in its Foreign Policy, Not Border".

It was authored and posted on 14th July, 2017 by Professor Phunchuk Stobdan a foreign policy expert of India.

( A brief about the author courtesy Google). Ambassador (Prof.) P. Stobdan is a distinguished academician, diplomat, author and foreign policy expert. He has been India’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan until recently. Ambassador Stobdan has earlier served in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). He also served as Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Jammu & Kashmir. He is the Founding President of the Ladakh International Centre, Leh. Ambassador Stobdan is currently Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the United Services Institution (USI). Ambassador P. Stobdan is a leading columnist for Indian Express and other national dailies in India.

I thought it may serve Indo- Bhutan equal interest to share my own perspectives. So I sent an email to the  distinguished author and hopefully through him other Indian Experts and Analysts will be aware.

pstobdan@gmail.com       14th July, 2017

Sub; " India's Real Problem lies in its Foreign Policy, Not Borders "

Dear Sir,

I went through your feeling and views. You are a sincere well wisher of Indo-Bhutan friendship. Hopefully there is room for such understanding and accommodation in the power halls of New Delhi.

I could never fathom why Indian leaders and advisors still suffer from the subjugated trance of British Raj Era ? In almost all dealing with her dependant neighbours especially the two landlocked, India is not satisfied with " Namas-te" greetings. One is required to bow from kneeling position. A copycat attitude of British Raj to Indians.

I suppose you realise that if the push comes to shove as they say,  it is not possible for India to takeover Bhutan without China claiming over half the Kingdom. It's a touch and go situation. Presently Bhutan's status as a buffer nation actually guarantees the security of the oft quoted "chicken neck " of India and her North Eastern Frontier States.  A divided Bhutan can place the whole of Northern India in peril.

However, if India does not obstruct/ hinder Sino Bhutan Border Agreement, this will guarantee the security of all of Northern India. It is therefore,  actually in India's interest to encourage Bhutan to sign the Border Agreement with China. Instead the successive Indian leaders have taken out their British Raj era humiliation upon the only nation and people that they can safely bully. To allow Bhutan to sign Agreement and have relation with China is elevating the national status of Bhutan and Bhutanese people which Indian cannot stomach. It seems that the Indian ego which is so badly bruised under Whitemen subjugation, cannot accept Bhutan as an equal neighbour. Thus it is not Indian national security priority nor the fear of Chinese invasion or competition that prevents India from giving Bhutan the go-ahead to friendlier ties with China. It is the psycological burden of accepting Bhutan as an equal neighbour that haunts the false Indian elitist pride. 

I suppose Indian experts are well aware that what was once part of Bhutan like the Duars and Doklam was wrested away by British India. Doklam may have been originally that of Tibet before Bhutan took over. At one time in Bhutanese history, Bhutan had land in Ladakh , Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim and in north eastern India the Duars. But British India changed all that.  Bhutan was given a yearly cash annuity for the 18 Duars as the tax collected from those domains was important revenue for Bhutanese heiracy. The other domains  had more to do with religious purpose than revenue. So probably these were simply written off.  Anyway British India sold  Doklam back to China.

Bhutan cannot get back the Duars or Doklam or the other religious domain in Nepal, Sikkim or Ladakh.  In the revised 2007 Indo-Bhutan Treaty that " annuity clause " regarding the 18 Duars  was taken off and so was the clause " foreign affairs to be guided by India". In other words an exchange was concluded though never highlighted or publicly stated for claim against Duars in exchange for freedom in exercising foreign affairs by Bhutan.   

Can you imagine what such an  "annuity clause " be worth to a mighty nation in the modern era when everybody is claiming something off another?  That may be the reason why India removed it when Bhutan insisted upon self auhority in foreign affairs as a member of UN. You may be aware that India did not willingly back Bhutan's admission to UN. India had no choice when she realised that King Jigme Dorji Wangchcuck was prepared to go broke on that score. 

Bhutan is too small and weak to assert her historical domination and have wisely chosen peace and sovereignty within the physical space that we have as of date. We have no alternative but to choose peace and friendship with India. Likewise we have no alternative but to forget Doklam as we have foregone the Duars and other religious domains and sign the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement so that what we have now remain ours for eternity. 

There is much affection and respect for India within the larger Bhutanese community. However, there is resentment and fear, too, as you pointed out. I do not know what secret magical  hold India has over the Wangchuck Dynasty but whatever it is, that is wearing rather thin. I feel Bhutanese can accept and live with their King no matter what India may say or reveal about our deeply respected Dynasty.

Democracy has been introduced by the King and the process cannot be halted. And with democracy comes more free thinking and more questions that can be uncomfortable to answer. And as amenable as the last two Kings have been with Indian approach to Bhutan, 34 years and 24 rounds of delay tactics in negotiations with China in compliance to never ending dictates of India upon Bhutan, can wear out the utmost patience of China with Bhutan and that of Wangchuck Dynasty of Bhutan with Indian leadership. Afterall their Majesties are the true son and grandson of the King who once declared, " would rule as a sovereign King or not at all ". And probably the people of Bhutan ,too, would be exhausted in search for a chance for dignified peaceful existence. And take matters off everyone's table. 

I feel for sake of durable genuine love and frienship between the people of India and Bhutan, India should wisely and generously permit Bhutan with adequate leeway in signing the Border Agreement and have diplomatic and trade relations with China. This will not change fundamental basis of Indo Bhutan friendship and reliability. It will only enhance the political status of Bhutan as a more strengthened Sovereign Buffer State and enable a less stressful China and India relationship.

May there be more such thinkers like you and may Indo- Bhutan friendship reach a healthy level of equal love and respect. 

I wish you well Sir. 

Sincerely

Wangcha Sangey

Bhutanese Auto Dealers, Ministry of Finance and GST effect.

Business has ups and downs. And Ministry of Finance should not be protecting Auto Dealers from the GST consequences. If auto prices go down let the customer benefit in full. When prices go up, the Auto Dealers make the customers take the fall.  It is wrong to allow Auto Dealers to fix a price to recoup losses on cars in stock due to GST application.  In that way, future customers will be paying higher cost always because greed has no bound.

However if Government wants to work out a way to compensate for its own loss of income from  usual  exercise refund on all goods then that is understandable.

It is high time that Government put in place a transparent pricing structure of products like cars sold by restricted number of General Dealers. Dealers must have profit but prices of products sold on Monopoly Basis , must be controlled and made transparent by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Affairs through their respective Executive  Agencies. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dear concerned journalists of Doklam conflict.

I do not engage in fostering media hype of a situation. For this reason I do not accept  interview requests or answer questions sent to me that are out of the context of my article. But I am ready to sit down with any reaaonable entity and at appropriate place in regards to the content of my article. I can defend what I wrote. However, please do not ask me to guess how all Bhutanese think or who likes or dislikes whom and what is to happen, hereafter, to Doklam and Bhutan and consequences with her neighbours. I was and am only interested in clearing air about Royal Bhutan Army alleged role in the Doklam standoff between India and China.

For many media houses and journalists, the objective could be to create more controversies and thereby more news rather than reveal just facts.  My article on Doklam dealt with one fact. That was that Royal Bhutan Army would not have asked Indian Army to intervene. And I provided substantive reasons backed by past events to base my stand. Simple. Not supporting India or China. And not questioning any relationships. Just demonstrating that the reason for Indian Army entering Doklam a disputed area between China and Bhutan cannot be attributed to Royal Bhutan Army.

And to a degree the article was validated.  Since then Indian sources have stopped playing up that Bhutan Army angle and stuck to Indian security concerns. And Chinese did not readily accept the blame put on Bhutan Army.  However, I take no credit. Looks like few Bhutanese fb friends shared my article and their journalists friends saw the opportunity to translate it into Chinese language and had published the translated version along side my original article in english. That caught attention of many in the world. And Indian media representative offices in Beijing also noticed. So attention of both Indian, Chinese and others including scholars and analysts were drawn to my article. Whoever translated and published the article was responsible for getting the facts out for a wider audience to scrutinise. 

My article " Understanding Sino-Bhutan Border issues at Doklam. Search for truth "  was intended to reassure our own people that Royal Bhutan Army was not a messenger boy of the Indian Army as was implied by the allegation. I had no idea that my article would find wider audience and impact those in China and India. I blog on many  issues of both national and international nature.  In Bhutan some  people pay attention because they find me forthright and also often I was proved right by turn of events. But outside media never noticed what I wrote. It suited me fine. I seek no publicity or popularity like a journalist. I am quite self comfortable  in my individuality within Bhutan.

Just two examples to illustrate my point to outside journalist/ media that what I wrote never mattered nor noticed by them till now. Therefore, I had no reasons to assume that this time it would be any different.

When Rahul Gandhi tore up the Ordinance whilst PM Singh was in Washington,  I wrote that his action signaled  the beginning of end of Congress Party  because he was challenging the old guards who actually constitute the backbone of Gandhi Family Congress Party. 

During American Primary Election Phase, I wrote that Trump was the one to watch out. And I think I was among the few political watchers who concluded that Hillary would lose. I also expected the backlash of old political establishment of both Parties Republican and Democrat against President Trump.  Not initially with the aim to oust him but to tame him to their interests also. American Presidency is more of a high stakes within American political and corporate establishments than to the world at large. Maybe same in other nations also.

It really does not matter to Bhutan which Political Party comes to power in India or who becomes American President. Generally, these two nations operate within the same set foreign policy parameters towards Bhutan. I wrote about these simply because  comprehending political developments accurately is good mental  exercise. And sharing the same with fellow Bhutanese can be of mutual benefit.

At Doklam whoever wins whether it is China or India, for sure Bhutan cannot  have it. Even if China gives Doklam to Bhutan, it is clear from recent developments that India will takeover for her strategic purposes.  Unless a totally new arrangement is feasible, under prevailing circumstance, either way,  Bhutan is out.  Whether Bhutan can move forward and seal the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement depends on the political acumen capacity of Bhutanese leadership. I do not for sure know how strong is Bhutan's claim on Doklam since our history is more oral based than documented in writing. And India's contention is in worse shape  as she was under Britain until 1947. And it was British India who sold out Doklam to China.

But for sure whatever comes out of Doklam conflict, Bhutan Army will remain for Bhutan to keep and Bhutanese to trust. Thus my expression of confidence in the integrity of our own Army.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Silence is for double dubious Dealers not for true Bhutanese citizens.

The allegation that Royal Bhutan Army sought the help of Indian Army at Doklam is a crushing blow to our sovereign honour.   This is above and outside any other issues that Bhutan may have with China or India. So do not belittle this by bringing up other issues. Deal with this at all cost. Do not hide for the whole wide world has been informed. Only the guilty or the colluders will remain silent.

Please understand that the allegation that at Doklam the Royal Bhutan Army fell at the feet of the Indian Army seeking help is a huge dishonour to our Defence Force and the Supreme Commander. This allegation over shadows any other grievances that Bhutan maybe having with either India or China. It is a very deep national wound and humiliation. And defeats the very purpose of having a Defence Force and great Supreme Commander. 

In regards to Doklam, whatever the Royal Government positions maybe, I do not believe that RBA would have sought Indian Army help to confront any construction party of China at Doklam or anywhere else at the Sino- Bhutan Border. If that was so, why even station our Defence Force at the international Borders? Bhutan might as well hand over the security of our international borders to the care of respective Indian or Chinese Armies if we believe that the role of Bhutanese Army is that of frightened begging boy between the Armies of India and China.

On my part , I deeply respect and sincerely honour the sacrifices made, the physical hardships undergone in the harsh Himalayan weathers and the enormous courage shown by our soldiers and officers in  guarding our international borders be it in the South, North, East or West of the Kingdom.

The Royal Bhutan Army has always stood their ground and up held their duty and responsibility.  And no one has any political or moral right to discredit such an honourable national defence force of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

I have no personal issues with The Bhutanese or its Editor. There is no merit in pettiness. And I have no preference for neighbours as such has been decided by the Creator of the Universe.  But I do  appreciate the generous economic assistance and free trade and transit granted by India to us. I do want for India to  remain our number one friend though I believe that Bhutan should have diplomatic and trade relationships with China also.

However, none of my general feelings has any relation to how humiliated I feel at this  allegation that Royal Bhutan Army failed the nation at Doklam. No !  I will not keep silent at this gross insult and injustice to RBA and to the whole sovereign honour of the Bhutanese Kingdom.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

National Amenities and their necessities.

Druk Air, Tashi Air ( Bhutan Airlines ) Helicopter Service, Hotels like Taj Tashi, Le Meridien etc are very costly investments but essential assets that enhance national convenience and prestige. And when such amenities are shouldered by the private,  the load becomes lighter for the nation.

Long ago, there was BGTS ( Bhutan Government Transport Service ). It represented movability for the masses and hence social connectivity. Not a commercial profit oriented enterprise but a pivotal engine of national connectivity. An active symbol of nation awakening together. I still believe that such a basic transport service should  be set up by the  state covering all routes as means of affordable transport facility for the needy. The private bus service agencies can provide high quality mini bus services in commercially viable sectors.

Air services to India and destinations even if only to few other Countries widen national horizon. Promotes international connectivity thus bringing Bhutan and rest of the outer world closer. Hotels of international recognition and standards facilitate international conferences, workshops and seminars in Bhutan. Especially convenient when state visits happen. These establishments are long term investments that would take years to generate profit but fill national needs immediately upon operation. 

Druk Air was established by the Government and still owned 100% by the Government. And its contribution to national sovereign status is immeasurable. Tashi Air and Taj Tashi Hotel are privately owned Companies of Bhutanese investors. And Hotel Meridien of Thimphu and Paro are said to be joint ventures between Bhutanese and Indian investors. Bhutanese investors are the larger shareholders. The names Taj and Meridien are of the hotel chain  management groups of known international brand who bring into the country high quality services and standard of Management. 

They manage and operate the hotels at a fee and dictate the kind of facilities and qualities that are hall marks of all such international hotels managed under their brand logo. The details goes down to kind of  specifications for bed sheet and cutleries for dinning.  The ultimate loss and profit are passed on to the investors who owns the hotels.

I admire the endurance and fiscal stamina of such long term investors in airlines and hotels  in Bhutan. The market is limitted and scope of additional income from related peripheral activities is near nil. Actually in terms of commercial profit, in Bhutanese context, it is better to invest in a shopping mall than big name hotel. 

Helicopter Service within a mountainous nation is a must and if managed efficiently, the gestation period is short. Not at all like an airline. I hope few more helicopters will be pressed into service. The operation cost will come down per helicopter and rate could also become more affordable. Helicopter transport is cheaper both financially and convenient time wise. So much travel time is saved and ground hassle avoided.  And during emergency, there is nothing better than instant reach. To have the means to deliver or be there at the moment required is also a strength of a nation. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

NDTV and Doklam

Dear NDTV

Please be little discerning when talking on this sensitive subject. The Royal Government has not confirmed in any manner that Bhutan asked India to intervene. India said initially Bhutan asked  and then gradually reworded to " in coordination with Bhutan ".  Actually Indian Media and other sources referred to Indian Army and Chinese Construction Party confrontation in the 1st week of June. Bhutan Government demarche of 20th June asked China to maintain status quo as of 16the June. It is possible that such a demarche was issued at Indian request because they were caught flat footed and needed an excuse for the transgression after Nathula closed.

There were always few frictions at Sino Bhutan Border and all were always solved without ever seeking Indian help. Sino Bhutan Border is Bhutanese sovereign affair as one of your guest tonight stated. Bhutan never said Bhutan was being bullied.So please do forget your feverish narrative " tiny being bullied by big". What Indian Media propaganda!

Your ex Army guest is over shooting.  The so called swap was in Central and Western Northern Sino Bhutan Border. Not at Doklam. ( Reference Today Bigfigt  )

From: sangeywangcha@gmail.com
To: BIGFIGHT@ndtv.com

Time: 9:12 pm Date 08-07-2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Fiscal Incentives the flashing constitutional controversy in Bhutanese Politics.

1. I first heard of it when MP Tharchen of NC made a reference in fb. But did not understand the basis. 

2. Next there was the call for resignations of PM and FM by DNT. Since they directed the attack against two individuals and not the whole Government, it simply looked politics of personal attack in nature.

After listening to the two leaders PM and OL  live at BBS, my feelings are as follows.

a) BBS should show the specific paragraphs of Supreme Court Judgement dealing with Fiscal Incentives if such was part of the whole judgement on taxation requiring to be a Money Bill. The Opposition Leader could also have read out the relevant judgement during the interview  if DPT was absolutely confident of their interpretation of the judgement.

b) The PM had declared that the Supreme Court had not taken away the Government's prerogative in providing Fiscal Incentives. He seemed confident on this score.  He also said that as Opposition, he had never questioned this prerogative of the Government whilst sueing the Government on motor vehicle tax raise.

c. The Opposition Leader stated that he and his Party was under the understanding that the Supreme Court Judgement had taken away the Government's prerogative on Fiscal Incentives. However, the same judgement had not censured the Fiscal Incentives already given by the DPT Government. He felt the judgement came into force from the day it was issued.

All in all,  the Opposition Leader was saying that the two Parties had derived different interpretations from the same judgement of the Supreme Court. In my view, it is quite unlikely for concerned Political Parties and Agencies to have such opposing interpretation of a what was termed " a Land Mark  Judgement " in the first constitutional case. 

The Opposition Leader, however, did confirm that PDP had not litigated Fiscal Incentives in  the constitutional case. The then the 2 member PDP Opposition had only challenged the Motor Vehicle Tax.

Conclusions:

a) Whose interpretation is correct can be determined if and when specific part of Judgement on Fiscal Incentive, if any,  is made available to the public. The judgement was several  years back and most would not be able to recall off the cuff.

I do not recall that the  judgement had covered Fiscal Incentives. It was not an issue raised by PDP. As PM stated on BBS, it may have been part of defence arguement of DPT Government to support  the taxation on motor vehicle without Parliament approval. The  Government had power to grant Fiscal Incentives and therefore,  by the same virtue, the Government should have power to levy tax, could have been the line of arguement.

Still, though Fiscal Incentives was not under the scanner at that time, maybe the final judgement had touched upon it. Only a scrutiny of the actual text of the judgement would reveal the facts.

b) Until I heard the Opposition Leader state that the Supreme Court judement of the first constitutional case had taken away the Government's  prerogative on Fiscal Incentives, I never thought of " constitutional breach " .

I suppose when the PDP Government had granted Fiscal Incentives in January, 2016, the Opposition DPT must have opposed the same then and there pointing out the unconstitutionality of it. It is not possible to follow all issues discussed during Parliament Sessions or in the public domain.   And I do not recollect that DNT had publicly raised any objection until recently in the media.

Just for reference or information, as per set precedent, guilt of constitutional breach does not end in automatic exit of the guilty political party. But a correction in the course is implemented. 
  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Understanding Sino - Bhutan Border issues at Doklam. Search for truth

The recent Doklam event has many versions. The Indian media naturally had the versions of their Government though they  shared what the Chinese also said.

More than the Indian media,  it was  Tenzing Lamzang of The Bhutanese who attempted to expound the Indian Government positions/ views upon the Bhutanese public through his lengthy article titled " Understanding the Doklam border issue ".

The best way to seeve the truth is to visit history of various events relating to Sino- Bhutan Border and compare with this recent inflated and manipulated Doklam incident. So now another lengthy article in response to Indian media and Tenzing Lamsang article.

1. Initially from late 1960s and through 70s, the Government of India made attempts to discuss with China on the issue of China- Bhutan international border demarcation.   

2. China rejected all such attempts by India. China maintained that Bhutan which is a sovereign Kingdom should stand for herself and deal directly with China.

3. So India had to permit Bhutan to directly deal with China on the border issue. That was how the Border Talks began between Bhutan and China from the 1980s. Since then 24 rounds of Talks have taken place in most cordial manner. And much progress have been achieved. India was always kept in the loop by Bhutan.

4. It is possible that the public of Bhutan feel that the Talks are taking too long. Similar views also have been aired in the National Assembly of Bhutan . I understand the innocent frustrations. Under the past absolute Monarchy system, people are used to instant decisive decision of a King. Many do not understand the complexities involved in international boundary demarcation. The case is more perplexing since the Government is in no position to bare all the uncomfortable truths including heavy pressures from India to demand more strategic land from China.  

5. Also the Indo- Bhutan international boundary in the South was demarcated so quietly.  The public did not hear anything about Bhutan negotiating with India regarding her international border in the South with India. It is possible that Bhutan was in no position to negotiate. Bhutan is more vulnerable to a takeover by India than by China. Also Bhutan has no access to outside world except through India. And moreover,  Bhutanese economy and commerce are totally dependant on India including travel from West Bhutan to East Bhutan in the South of the Kingdom. Against such geopolitical constrictions, Bhutan probably had to accept at where ever,  the Survey of India decided to lay  the Indo- Bhutan international boundary pillars. Thus the quiet smoothness and the speed when one side makes decision for two sides.

6. The fact that China is willing to negotiate with Bhutan on the international boundary of the two nations is I believe a giant step forward for Bhutanese sovereignty. I am grateful to China for this sovereign courtesy. I am even more grateful to India for all the economic assistance  and freedom of trade and transit that enabled Bhutan to develop thus far. But I do love Bhutan ever more.

7. There is no doubt in my mind that Bhutan would want to finalise the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks and sign the Agreement. Bhutan has to be fully aware of the limitations of demands we can make upon China. And at the same time Bhutan is in no position to ignore the strategic interests of India. There is too much pressure. That is why  Doklam the tri-junction Plateau is drawing multi attentions. It will be a blessing in disguise if China or India forcefully just takeover  Doklam Plateau. The so called status quo is endangering the status of whole of Bhutan. 

8. For Bhutan, Doklam holds no extra strategic significance than any other part of the Kingdom.  But for both India and China, this Tri- junction is considered most vital. Unfortunately for India, the international boundary between Sikkim India and Tibet China at the Doklam Tri-Junction was decided long time back. So as vital as whole of Doklam Plateau is for Indian military strategic interest, there is not much that India can do through her State of Sikkim. The Sikkim door which India possessed is closed.

9. India, therefore, is pushing Bhutan to claim as much as possible the part of Doklam Plateau in the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks. India knows that she has the clout to use Bhutanese territory to serve her strategic interest. So what India herself had forfeited in negotiation with China, she now wants Bhutan to re-claim. This places Bhutan in a very difficult position. Every inch of Bhutanese land is sacred. To claim land for our own is justifiable. But to demand disputed land from China for Indian strategic purposes could endanger Bhutan. In demanding more, Bhutan loses the moral ground  to even claim what is rightfully hers. 

9. Bhutan is placed in a near impossible position. China will never surrender the strategic position that  she had already gained at Doklam Plateau during  negotiation on international boundary with India ( State of Sikkim ). And India is insisting upon  Bhutan to wrest from China larger portion of Doklam Plateau that India could not get whilst negotiating with China on Sikkim-Tibet international boundary.

10. China wants to have better relation with the sovereign Kingdom of Bhutan. And wants to settle the border dispute in the interest of promoting closer ties including diplomatic relationship.  And  China has shown willingness to accommodate Bhutanese requests/ stand in other parts of the northern border. But not at the Tri-Junction where China shares border with Indian State of Sikkim and Bhutan. It seems that  China had made her position clear to India in regards to Doklam status even when negotiating with India on the internal boundary of the State of Sikkim which borders Doklam along with Tibet and Bhutan. There is no way that China will give in to India through Bhutan front. The Government of Bhutan knows this and wants to be realistic and conclude the negotiations without further adieu and sign the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement. But Bhutan does not dare to sign the Agreement without the nod from India. In the end, China will keep exercising jurisdiction over Doklam Plateau and Bhutan always at merciful generosity of India.  

11. India is worried about the security of her so called chicken neck of the Siliguri corridor and thereby, the Eastern Frontier States.  Maybe that was the reason of takeover of Sikkim. In the same manner, China is worried about the future security of her narrow Chumbi Valley stretch and thereby the whole of Tibet. China seems to considers Doklam Plateau as vital to her as Sikkim is to India. Even then China was willingly to share a part of Doklam Plateau with Bhutan so as to enable an amicable settlement. I feel we have to face the reality. China may not wait forever for Bhutan to get Indian clearance. Chinese security concerns would out weigh any ties including with Bhutan.
 
12. Presently the international boundary in eastern Bhutan has not been demarcated even with India . The sticking point is that Arunachal Pradesh is on the other side. And China claims part of Arunachal. So later, like Doklam, there is bound to be similar Tri- Juction situation. And there, too, China would not be compromising her national security for friendship with Bhutan. So considering all aspects, it may be also in India's interest to let Bhutan sign the Sino-Bhutan Border Agreement. The gesture could contribute towards reaching reasonable agreement towards drawing the Sino- India Arunachal border demarcation. Confidence building is a must in negotiation. 

13.  China will not budge in Sino - Bhutan Border negotiation where Bhutan is deemed to act as a proxy for Indian strategic interests. At times during Sino - Bhutan Border Talks, China may have been suspicious of India directing the negotiations from Bhutan side. And this time with India openly declaring that she had interferred on behalf of Bhutan at Doklam confirms that all along Bhutan has been actually acting as a proxy for Indian Doklam interest. This will harden Chinese resolve. 

14. The Bhutanese Army at Doklam would not  approach the Indian Army stationed on the Sikkim side in regards to any issue with China. Bhutan is well aware that directly involving India is an act of surrendering sovereignty to another nation. It took many years and much diplomatic and political maneuvering to convince India to let Bhutan negotiate directly with China. Bhutanese leaders must demonstrate more courageous wisdom and resolve if Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement  is to be successfully signed.

Response to The Bhutanese.

Tenzing Lamsang the Editor of The Bhutanese,  in his lengthy article claimed that Bhutanese Army tried unsuccessfully to stop the road construction by the Chinese Party and then Indian Army got involved in stopping the construction. I really doubt that Indian Army can ever stop China from doing anything on the land that she claims as her own. Tenzing Lamsang may or may not care of the implication of what he related or claimed. But for sure he does not seem to recognise or acknowledge  how much Bhutan wants to keep Sino- Bhutan Border Talks a sovereign affair of Bhutan.

Tenzing Lamsang may have been just a student studying in a Tibetan School in New Delhi when major incursion by China happened into Bhutan ( northern boundary of Haa Dzongkhag with China Tibet ).  Understandably, Tibetan Schools in India would not have any good things to teach about China. They may even target Bhutan for the troubles Bhutan had with Tibetans in early 1970s. Any way whether Tenzing Lamsang was born or already a studenr, when that Chinese incursion took place, IMTRAT was very much there in Haa. And yet, Bhutan did not seek Indian Army help. 

The King of Bhutan did not turn to Indian Army stationed in Haa Wangchuk LoDzong  to confront the Chinese force. In fact, I believe the IMTRAT in Haa was in disarray probably packing up to leave Bhutan when the Chinese incursion happened. His Majesty commanded a Captain of Royal Bhutan Army to lead an unarmed small RBA force to march up to the extreme northern border of Haa with Tibet. A symbolic act to maintain the integrity of Bhutanese land. And this Captain accomplished the Command of his Supreme Commander. That was how a crisis was averted. Today that Captain is the Chief of Operations of Royal Bhutan Army. As a novice junior RBA Officer, he and his soldiers faced the Chinese troops and paved their way to the border. Now as a General, he can never direct his soldiers at the outpost at Doklam to seek Indian Army help. Not way. Not at all. 

So Tenzing Lamsang, my views are not based on  " desktop musing "   as inferred by you ( my response in your fb post has been deleted by you but it's OK. I have my blog as you have your Newspaper. So I have answered your article in full here ).

I know for a fact that Bhutanese soldiers at Border out -posts take their responsibility sincerely and courageously and independent of Indian Army.  It is an insult to RBA and the nation  to even insinuate that Bhutanese officers and soldiers, on their own,  cannot deal with Chinese forces at the border. I had, therefore, objected to Tenzing Lamsang's  narration to the Bhutanese public the foreign propaganda materials that glorifies Indian Army at the expense of Royal Bhutan Army. RBA may be trained and funded by India but our Defence Force has independant Bhutanese national heart and responsibility. RBA has always fulfilled the task of securing Bhutanese Borders and cleansing the nation of any intruders including from India.  

Conclusion:

Royal Bhutan Army outposts at the Sino- Bhutan border are there to carry out their defence tasks. Our officers and soldiers are not posted there to warm the chilly mountain air with their breath. They do not run to Indian Army to seek help to execute their own national defence task. Numerous Sino- Bhutan incidents have taken place in the past. And in all those incidents,  the Royal Bhutan Army, the Chief of Operations or the Supreme Commander has never sought help of Indian Army to face Chinese troops at the Sino- Bhutan Border. Now if China invades Bhutan, probably His Majesty may seek Indian help. Likewise if India invades Bhutan, His Majesty may seek Chinese assistance. Maybe both will come without even inviting. Until then, Bhutan will deal with what are deemed to be containable conflicts on its own whether in the South or in the north.

For general readers. I have one point of clarification. It is true that within Bhutan,  there are Indian military presences as declared by India.  And yes, Bhutanese Army is trained by India and even funded by India. But all this is not for defence of Bhutan. It is for the security of India. In the defence strategy plan  of India against China, India counts on Bhutan's ability to secure her international borders with China. So Indian military is in Bhutan for defence of India. And likewise Indian Army's recent action at Doklam Plateau has nothing to do with Bhutanese national interest or with Bhutanese Security Force at Doklam.

The demarche issued on 20th June by Bhutan Embassy in New Delhi to Chinese Embassy is a normal happening. Both China and Bhutan follow this diplomatic procedure to air any misgivings or clear any misunderstandings at the borders. The soldiers of China and Bhutan do not engage in unruly jostling or play kapadi kind of pushing and catching game at the Sino- Bhutan border. It must also be noted that the Bhutanese Government referred to road being built in "disputed area". Not " inside undisputed "  Bhutanese territory. It said " maintain status quo" which is different from allegation of encroachment into Bhutanese Security  Force  manned Bhutanese territory.  

The Press Release by Bhutanese Foreign Ministry on 29th June is out of norm. A kind of political " cry Wolf ".  Bhutan usually acts quietly with dignity. Who was Bhutan appealing to in the Press Release with all the history ? If it was China whom we were addressing then there was no need of history as they are party to all the history. This unusual propaganda type of Press Release may have been issued at Indian request to consolidate their weak stand in the international arena. Unfortunately, in so doing, the Bhutanese Government may have further complicated a complex issue. Maybe we need to prayer harder and sincerely for the guidance of Pelden Drukpa.

May Tsawa Soum be in continuous good health. Pelden Drukpa Gyel Lo!    
  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

No true friend only self interested neighbours at Doklam.

Bhutanese Citizens must not get excited with the overblown Doklam problem at the Tri-Junction of  Chinese Tibet, Indian Sikkim and Bhutan. There is more politics here than actual action. Bhutanese soldiers at the border are fully capable of protecting our sovereignty without the assistance of any third party. Also Bhutan has never asked any Country including close friend India to fight our border  battle.

Regarding Sino - Bhutan Border, both nations have been holding talks to arrive at acceptable solutions. The  progress of such talks hinges on confidence building measures not just historical tales and documents if any. The moment India steps in or claims to help Bhutan in the  Sino Bhutan Boundary issues,  China becomes suspicious and attitude changes.

Indian Media also keeps changing their reports.  Until Bhutanese Foreign Ministry issued a press statement, they said the encroachment was related to Bhutan. Now they are saying the problem is at Sikkim China border. 

Also it is impossible for Indian soldiers to come to the aid of Bhutanese soldiers at Doklam. Our soldiers would resist any such offer.  Bhutanese solders cannot ask help from Indian soldiers to deal with Chinese soldiers. Likewise Bhutanese soldiers cannot ask help from Chinese soldiers to deal with Indian soldiers. Bhutanese officers are well aware of the implications of such stupidity.

The reasons why the successive Kings of Bhutan had Bhutanese soldiers guarding the international  borders of the Kingdom is that we do not trust both  China and India to protect our international border. If we ever be so stupid to ask their help, their soldiers will enter but never leave Bhutan.

The King of Bhutan led his own Bhutanese soldiers during the war in South Bhutan against Indian militant groups. His Majesty did not ask China or India to help. It would have been a lost cause if the King hid behind soldiers of other nations. Thus His Majesty led from the front his own soldiers.

Bhutanese citizens and democratic leaders must keep in mind that the day Bhutan relies on India or China to fight our battle, we betray our sovereignty. And please keep away from political charade that China and India engages in at the Tri- Junction Doklam. Do not be dragged into the dangerous net of India and China conflict. They will swallow Bhutan first and then continue their  disputes for ages to come.  

And stop believing that India is defending Bhutanese international boundary interests against China at Doklam. Does any genuine Bhutanese citizen or leader believe that during demarcation of India and Bhutan international  borders, the Indian Government or her Army would have been looking out for Bhutanese interests ?  Only Bhutan can truly stand for Bhutanese interests especially in matters of our international borders. Pelden Drukpa Gyel Lo !

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On Fiscal Incentives becoming Money Bill and proposed National Water Commission

Well !  Very much in character of Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, he faced the nation on BBS live a while ago..

Just watched the PM defending the approach of his Government on issues of   1.Fiscal Incentives as Money Bill  and   2.Proposed National Water Commission.

My takes:

PM says that  Fiscal Incentive granted by DPT Government 3 days before winding up its term resulted in Nu:186 million savings for 94 hotels so far. And out this amount Nu: 76 million was the savings of the Le Meriden Hotel of the daughter of  former Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba. Quite a statistic.   Possible that the hotel Le Meriden Thimphu did more business and therefore,  benefitted more  from the incentives granted. However, with such a fact surfacing, one does realise the necessity of more transparency in  Fiscal Incentive given by a Government.

2. I still stand by my blog I wrote on 24th June, 2017 on " Fiscal Incentives and Money Bill. I feel it is too simple to leave the whole issue of Fiscal Incentives becoming  Money Bill upon the Speaker's decision only.  However,  I do not find any valid ground regarding DNT calls for resignations.  Maybe for the same reason, the Opposition Party and the NC have not publicly backed DNT stand.

3. I share Lyonchhen's view that Money Bills will always get passed by a sitting  Government but there will be transparency even for Fiscal Incentives.

4. Regarding Water Commission, the PM is aware about the Act that empowers NEC on matters of water resources. So DPT stand which I read  in Kuensel today is very valid and legitimate. However, with the proposal for National Water Commission, it seems the Government intends to make parallel approaches. Drafting the proposal for National Water Commission and also working towards framing necessary legislation/ amendments to legally constitute the Commission. As a citizen I simply look for the necessity since existing  legislations can always be amended and new  created by the Parliament.

At personal level, I am dismayed with many water sources drying up. Such news dominates anxieties of rural people in BBS TV news. The urban residents also face acute water scarcity. It is not just irrigation and drinking water issues as vital as these are. Water is the soul of natural vegetation upon which a nation survives. In my own perception, the nation must be more serious and sincere in regards to water sources and management of dry wastes. I hope these two environmental agendas get the blessings of all authorities, Agencies,  Political Parties and all citizens.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fiscal Incentives and Money Bill confuses comprehension.

Just went through today's Kuensel Front page news. " Govt. dismisses Fiscal Incentives accusations".

Money Bill needs the approval of National Assembly. The same bill if approved by National Assembly goes to National Council for its views and recommendation though these are not binding upon the National Assembly. The National Council has no mandate to reject a Money Bill but it can shape public opinion with critical review. It can also make suggestions which if accepted by the National Assembly, would be incorporated.

According to Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, "Fiscal Incentives" are within the authority of the Executive/ Government. This in reality means that approval  of even  National Assembly is  not required. The precedents support this contention of the Prime Minister.

Now one wonders why the Government introduced  "Fiscal Incentives, 2016 " as a Money Bill when it declares that " Fiscal Incentives" are not required to receive approval of the National Assembly before implementing. 

What the Government seems to have tried to do was prevent another Government from doing away with the "Fiscal Incentives"  that it has granted by coating these " Fiscal Incentives"  as a Money Bill.  If a differen Party Government comes, that Government can immediately stop " Fiscal Incentives "  given by the previous Government though not with retrospective effect. This is possible only if the " Fiscal Incentives" are the prerogative of the Executive as put forth by the Prime Minister. However, to undo a Money Bill, the new Government has to go back to National Assembly and also receive Royal Assent. And that takes more time and effort. So the " Fiscal Incentives" granted by this Government cannot be instantly done away by a new different Party Government. The subsequent effect is that  it gives the industries receiving " Fiscal Incentives " the crucial  lobbying time and avenue. Generally any reigning Political Party would be reluctant to withdraw "Fiscal Incentives" unless political  vendetta is warranted to the extreme. In Bhutan political vendatta can be very narrow sighted.

The present Government cannot have the cake as well as eat it. Unless a Money Bill or any Bill passed by the National Assembly or the Parliament can be applied with retrospective effect ( most unusual), the " Fiscal Incentives" granted by the Government prior to the approval of this Mony Bill is subject to full recovery. And that is quite an uncomfortable prospect for the present Government. 

I do agree with the Prime Minister in his view that the call by DNT for resignations of the Finance Minister and himself is more a publicity stunt than Constitution based. ( I do also accept that all over the world,  political parties are prone to hype self achievements and hype even more the wrong doings of others. That's the nature of party politics. So DNT call is normal rather than exception).  

The Government did not breach the Constitution. But it does look like the Finance Ministry out witted itself in the Fiscal Incentive issue. The Government must comply with its own call for standard. If another Government is expected to follow the Money Bill standard for Fiscal Incentives, hereafter,  then PDP Government must set the example. Thus the present Government must  recoup back what the National Exchequer lost through grant of  " Fiscal Incentives" by it during the period uncovered by the Mony Bill.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Toilet Cleaners.

The most famous toilet cleaner in Bhutan is Chaplop Passang. His dignity derived from menial labour of cleaning toilets has been distinctively recognised and applauded by His Majesty the King and thus the title, " Chaplop ".

I clean toilets. No, not just toilets within my house. I clean toilet pots and pans and scrub shower room walls of flats vacated by tenants with my bare hands and a rag. My finger nails are short and my shirt sleeves are rolled up. I scrub toilet pots inside and outside and scrub the toilet floors. Toilet pots are easier to clean than the oily dirt cakes on the tiles of shower walls. Sometimes, I wonder how occupants had managed to avoid cleanliness whilst cleaning their physical person.

But I do not complain. It is the least of welcome services that we can do for our incoming tenants and a kind of thank you to the last tenant.  Afterall, our tenants are our main source of livelihood. And by the way, I am just one of the whole family team though I guess as the head of the family, I have some influence in developing the attitude in social and self responsibility. We just want the Triple Gem to know that we are grateful to be a hard working happy  family with the opportunities granted.   And for us cleaning toilets is an opportunity not a penalty. Nothing to be ashamed of and no reason to boast. Just part of our responsibility as life goes on.  

Toilet cleaning is an honest labour but it cannot be anyone's ultimate passion. I did what is necessary to make possible an honest livelihood. I did many things besides cleaning toilets so would most people in their journey of life.
 
Also by necessity, I am an excellent house electrician, an intelligent plumber and even a mediocre carpenter with more skill in guiding than sawing. These  low paying menial jobs for which I never got paid except that no payment had to be paid out to others, contributed to my family welfare along with my many executive posts with revolving chairs and private offices in the Government, the Corporations and even the Media world. By necessity too, I taught myself about laws of the land, religious scriptures,  politics of the day and the happenings of the world in general. Jack of many trades with fortunate proficiencies in few fields including cleaning toilets. Thank Providence that rules Fate and Life.

I became quite an expert, too , in getting babies delivered at home and ofcourse hand-washing all the clothes and bed sheets after a wonderful giddy filled sensation that births at home bring about. From cutting and then tying the cord ends of a new born baby to even cutting children hair to save money on barber service is a job that comes along with fatherhood. I value money and I believe most Bhutanese would not shy away from honest work including cleaning toilets if these  pay adequately. My domestic weakness is that I am a lousy cook and I dread cooking though making tea is an easy job. This handicap in cooking, I partly attribute to my beloved mother. From early childhood , my mother told me, " prepare for the tasks outside the house. Leave the home management to me". And by providence, what a home manager she was! The light of our home lit my life path. On my part, I never shied away from honest works outside the home. Thank you so much incredible mother and home manager. My sole goddess guide.

I have no qualms about doing menial works but it would be incorrect to declare that I enjoy doing them. And now with passing years, there is physical discomfort associated with physical labour. Anyway,  If I had the ultimate choice, I would rather be watching a good movie or reading a novel undisturbed. I can while away a whole day writing or reading or simply being in front of a radio those days but now a TV screen without actually paying much attention to what is happening in and around me in the room. In fact at times forgetting the where I am.  I can even forget about meals. Now you know how I would love to spend most of my days at this stage of life. Still if  called for, I would not mind cleaning toilets.