Sunday, December 24, 2017

The politics of culture and the Bhutanese nation.

Every once in a while a Ministry or a dzongkhag administration or a local government ( this time in Shemgang ) comes up with rules on how Bhutanese people should be dressed and punished. This kind of official tone has become a disease for social illness rather than any relief for nation enhancement. If the  unemployed youths are given sustainable jobs in the like manner of orders of official threats and penalties about culture and code of conduct are issued, there would be no idle youths, no drug problems and possibly no suicides either. How wonderful !

National dress should never be used as a tool of politics or as a whip of social disciplining. Any Governnent or political leaders that endorses or allows enforcement of such disciplinary regulations into the homes and daily lives of general citizens would be promoting the sense of social fear and oppression. To what end ?

It was partly the blind enforcements by Dzongkhag officials of such rules and  regulations right into the homes and fields that made it possible for anti- nationals to incite social upheavals in South Bhutan. Bhutanese authorities must understand and realise that the end result of such official repressions can be either serfdom for the populace or forced rebellion. Neither is desirable for the People, the Royal blessed democratic system and the cherished institution of Monarchy.  

It is possible that some of our local government elected officials and appointed  dzongkhag administrators are playing into the hands of anti national forces or they are by intent manipulating cultural ideals to ruin the fledging democractic system. 

I hope the central authority and leaders respect the wisdom of prevailing status-quo. Our culture,  tradition, the institutions of Monarchy and Dharma are central features of the Bhutanese nation. It would be unhealthy to attempt to drown the 700,000 Bhutanese in one particular heritage. Bhutanese authorities at central or dzongkhag level need to refrain from promoting  a repressive social condition. Such a path contradicts the precious gnh philosphy and much cherished image of benevolence at the highest level. 

Culture wise, the nation is very healthy. Bhutanese in general are proud of our culture and are most respectful to authorities. We understand the importance of national identity of our  culture and are very much aware of the central role of the Monarchy for the sovereignty and stability of the Bhutanese nation. Bhutanese in general zealously guard our way of life and soveriegnty with much pride and determination. The opposition to BBIN Agreement was one such expression of unified national aspiration. Too much cultural dictates and penalties would kill national inspirations and aspirations.

Now national attention and energy must be directed where improvements and enhancements are most needed. 
Life of a nation is much more than attires, disciplines and reverence.

His Majesty the King as well as the voice of majority of the people are for better education; more employment opportunities; reduction in problems of drug addiction of youths; reducing the ills of spiralling divorce trends and alcohol menaces.

The prevailing national administration  scene calls for tackling the monumental institutionalised monetary corruptions in financial institutions, ministries, agencies and corporations; fighting misuses of power and influence and bribes in many sectors ; combating systematic manipulations of land transactions and so on.

The only benefit the authorities would gain from repressive policies in the name of culture would be a brief respite for their corrupt acts including mismanagement of development funds and official positions. There is no benefit to the larger national  interest.  

Besides the objective to subjugate the will  of the people, it seems that the fascination of some leaders with gho, kira and kamni is rooted in two personal agendas. One seems to be a ploy to cover up short-comings in their professional and official responsibilities through outward act of nationalism.  And the other seems to be to remind the people of their low social status so as to maximise the full powerful impact of kamni and patang attire of officials " from 9am to 5pm."  Much like an exhibition of superior natural endowments by the peacock to a congregation of peahens devoid of colours and dazzles. Could such be the original fundamentals of knighthood tradition in feudal Europe? 



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A jewel of a hamlet- the Wangtsa ( Wangcha ) Village.

The Wangtsa Temple site was identified by Jhekhen Shakya Rinchen as symbolised by two very gnarled huge Juniper trees. A structure was built by JheKhen Sherab Gyeltshen and later enhanced by Jhekhen Ngawang Yonten Pelzang. Since then known descendant Lams include Lam Yeshey, Lam Rinchen. Lam Rinchen was great grand father of my father. He was  one of the two main disciples of the welknown first Jhe Sou- Chhoe- Ku ( a lineage of Shhadrung Ngawang Namgyel ). My father was just nine years old when Lam Rinchen died. 

The Wangtsa Goen-Chham during Lomba was a 8 day long religious event starting from the 24th day of the 10th Bhutanese month that culminated in the Tsechu held on the 1st day of the 11th month ( the photos are of the Tsechu ).  It  is a mixture of Bon rites and Kagyu practices. Gradually in recent times due to lack of qualified Lams within the traditional families responsible for the religious roles, the events have been condensed to 3 days and jointly conducted at the temple..

It is difficult to ascertain when exactly the Goen-Chham was instituted. But it is safe to assume that annual Bon rites were there much before Buddhism came to Bhutan. Ap Chhundu is actually a Bon Deity.Thus the yak sacrifice. Over the centuries, Bon practices and Buddhism merged and in my village the Bon culture of animal sacrifice was gradually reduced to offering of raw eggs.

Today at the Tsechu, the overcoming of the evil force is conducted by use of a statue of Shabdrung instead of the Bon way of fire torch and long sword. But the ground breaking or rather blessing of the ground in the morning is done by not Dhu-Dhar Chham as in many Tsechu festivals in Bhutan but by Saa-Cha Chham performed by two dancers with bull masks.

There are traditionally identified families responsible for the mask dances of Saa-Cha, the Lam Kenchoe represented by fierce masks of Pel Yeshey Goenpo and Pelden Lhamo and Goddess Tsomin the source of community water and wealth gifts. The Tsechu ends with the offering of Lamai Shhabten and Yul Lha Soelkha. The following next three days are devoted to annual village archery game.

A community annual Lomba festivities really  comprise of activities to thank the past year and welcome the new year and above all a gathering of young and old both who live away and in the village. As long as a you are within Bhutan, a Wangtsa born would not want to miss the Lomba festivities of the village.

On behalf of the families of Wangtsa community, I thank Kuensel Team for visiting our village and sharing our joys of Lomba celebrations with the nation through the two photos.      

Sunday, December 17, 2017

National Day 110th at Haa.

Most forunate that the Day was celebrated
here at Haa. It was done in great style blessed by three lines of Wangchuck Dynasty and by beautiful and  beloved all Royal Majestic Oueens and Royal Highnesses.

I was intent upon  attending it in person but following official directives to the letter has its defaults. " Register in advance " the order was and did get registered few weeks in advance. " Gate opens at 6am and closes at 8am " was the directive.  But by 6:45 , gates were closed and advance registration had no purpose.   There was open space enclosure where TV was installed but even there, there seems to be some problem in admission procedures.

Naturally,  participation if by TV was the only available choice then much more comfortabe at home. So I returned to the confort and pleasure of home. Maybe this day was also neant to be   shared with the spirits of departed souls of many beloved family members.   Do not get me wrong. I am not at all disappointed though I had come a day ahead to witness the celebrations. Instead, I am fully contended that it was a well attended event. Thank you especially to those who came from other Dzongkhags to make a huge success of the 110 th National Day at Haa.
All Haaps have to be feeling very proud today!

Lhakhang Karpo complex is ok for Haa Tsechu but such national events like National Day  must be held at the Traditional Dha- Chhab- Sai- Pang. Thousands and thousands of spectators can view the Celebrations  from both sides of the Haa river. A natural stadium more or less the size of Changlingmithang stadium in Thimphu  but more beautiful and very naturally designed.   

Today's National Day programmes were very impressive and so well managed. Not a minute was wasted. Congratulations Dasho Dzongdag and all those who worked so hard. And thank you all the participants especially the beautiful ladies of Haa. It was a kind of nostalgically a honeymoon environment especially the Lomba celebrations enacted in unison.  

His Majesty graciously thanked the Haa people for their voluntary services. Yes indeed it was a well organised voluntary service from the heart. I was here in Haa twice within the last 2 months and there was so much enthusiasm. It is immensely a happy and privileged occassion to be in Haa today.

I try not to miss National Day Addresses of His Majesty. But today two things stood out not just because I had not  heard them before or did I forget. Memories can play tricks at times.

1.His Majesty made a very special mention of all Bhutanese working and residing away from Bhutan. Such gracius thoughts and wishes on the National Day had to have deeply touched those who are in foreign countries as well as those of us here in Bhutan.   I was deeply touched and warmed and I thank His Majesty for remembering my beloveds along with others living away from home and hearth. And that too, during Lomba when family  members especially children are most missed. 

2. His Majesty also touched upon the dangers to a small nation like Bhutan when our giant two neighbours China abd India are at logger heads. His Majesty reminded Bhutanese to be united. " As long as we are united and do not have internal discord, we can meet any external challenges " His Majesty said.  " Gyel- Lyen- Bang Sum gi Thadamtsi "  was the phrase His Majesty used. This means trust, faith and love between the three social and political  tiers of the Kingdom :  Monarchy - Government - People. So true!   And so very heartfelt appeal and assurance from the beloved Monarch to all Bhutanese whether in government, armed forces, in private or public services, politicians or Political Parties and the People at grass root. 

His Majesty also thanked the Armed Forces. He usually does but there was a difference this time. The King made reference to the efforts of RBG, RBP and RBA within and at the Borders in the North and South. And His Majesty was not talking about normal duties or efforts of the Three Service Forces in combating like natural calamities. In talking about the security status of the Nation, His Majesty specifically mentioned both internal and external dangers. His Majesty mentioned the Service Forces in the order of  RBG, RBP and RBA. Maybe it was just a random sequence. But it could also be an  emphasis on internal security. RBA is the one we would immediately think of in case of external threat whilst the other two are more responsible for internal security matters.

Haaps may have missed His Holiness the JheKhen Rimpoche Trulku Jigme Choedra. Not that His Holiness usually attends National Day with Their Majesties but there was talk about this happening this time. As it was Lomba so many believed the rumour that His Holiness will grace the Nyira - Gu- Lue- Fang-ni. At normal times, I would have doubted the rumour but not this time. Haaps were told that instead of individual house Lue, it will be one big event as Haa Dzonkhag. And with Doklam lying  extreme south of Haa though under Samtse Dzongkhag, I simply thought that  it was a very thoughtful initiative. Well, I guess some plans are just talked of in wishful thinking.

In summary,  the National Day in Haa has been a great gift to Haaps by His Majesty the King. And we are highly honoured and deeply touched by the royal presence of Their Majesties the Kings and Queens and Royal Princes and Princesses and delighted by the enthusiasms of the younger Royal lines headed by Gyalsey HRH Jigme Namgyal Wangchuck. Haa Miri Phuen Sum, Gyenpo Tsebarmi and Ap Chhundu had to be in celebratory mood because the day was sunny and so beautiful.

Greetings from my Haa Home to all my fb friends. Tomorrow is our Wangcha Village Mang-gi-Chhoku and the day after our Village Tsechu. So I will be blessed thrice from National Day, Mang-gi- Chhoku and Tsechu. So let me share with all of you the abundant Blessings for the coming New Year. Thank you for being my friends.

Happy Lomba ! And Happy New Year!           

Sunday, December 10, 2017

History of Bhutan and its relevance.

Recently I read a very eloquent write up on why Bhutanese history should be taught in Dzongkha. And that made me think of the content of our history in school text books as well as in other writings by scholars. 

In whatever language history is written or taught, it should be accurate and should have profound details. Only then the nation and we the people whether youths in  schools or adults elsewhere will derive vsluable benefits.

It makes no sense to write history short on facts and excess in poetic phrases like ' Shabdrung preparing his ride towards the South''. But naturally Bhutanese history written and taught in Bhutanese language would make learning richer.

We need more indepth details and less flowery praises. Like how or why Shabdrung went into meditation and his death kept a secret for over 50 years.The secrecy around the death of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel  could well be the most successful palace coup by a coterie of palace officials in the history of all palace coups in the world. Who gained and who lost through this secrecy? Was Shabdrung forced into retirement/ meditation and thereafter silenced/ died?

Why there was no reincarnation during that long period of 50 years? Why did Shabdrung not believe in his own line of  reincarnation? He married to produce an heir and when his only child died, Shabdrung went for adoption and named Tenzin Rabgye as his Gyelsey ( Crown Prince ).  He never envisioned roles for his incarnations. So did Shabdrung actually believe that the true Druk Ralung Kagyu Lineage belonged to Passang Wangpo line?

History can be so rich if told in honest setting. Like how King Ugyen Wangchuck managed to consolidate national administration and  establish the Wangchuck dynasty? Who were his staunch supporters and adversaries ? Such information will illustrate in depth the personal qualities, leadership abilities and administrative acumen of our first King.

Everything should not be explained in religious terms like  prophecy or call of Palden Lhamo. Faith the essence of religion is poor in attendance when it comes to actual test of history and convincing educated minds. History must be worth remembering in substance than just statistics of numericals, dates and role of faith and fate.
What made King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convert Thimphu as the seat of the Throne?  How did King Jigme Singye Wangchuck succeed in re- negotiating the 1949 Bhutan- India Treaty? Was it a sellout as India claimed during Doklam transgression or did it strengthen Bhutanese sovereignty by asserting Bhutan's right to manage her own external affair?  Through renegotiation of 1949 Treaty in 2007,  the Triple Gem King succeeded in removing the clause of 1949 Treaty that required Bhutan to  seek Indian advice in matters of External Affairs?  Was the para on annuity payment by India to Bhutan reflected in 1949 Treaty removed as a barter exchange for Bhutan gaining her right to conduct her own foreign affairs? These are vital issues and should not be buried in silence.

Bhutan history book should have full text and particular circumstances governing the time of  Singchula Treaty between Bhutan and British India as well as  Bhutan- India Treaty of 1949 and the 2007 renegotiated Treaty with India.  Also the Border Treaty between Bhutan and  China. And the terms and circumstances of the Treaties should be fully discoursed so that Bhutanese generations can comprehend the endeavours of their leaders.

Also we need full text of Nehru's speech given at Paro Ugyen Pelri ground to the people of Bhutan and the full address made by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to the National Assembly of Bhutan because these record India's historical acknowledgement of Bhutan's sovereignty.  Like wise the major adresses of our Kings to the Indian people or major press releases should be part of Bhutanese school history books. The nation should be truly informed.

Instead our history books leaves a big void in facts and relevance when crisis happens as it did during Doklam. When India cited 2007 Bhutan- India Treaty as India's right to invade Bhutan on pretext of defending Bhutan from China, our fairy tale type of history books proved to be useless reference points.  History of a nation should not wholely comprise of just poetic praises for rulers and statistics of development works as important as these are as part and parcel of nation building process.     

History is part of nation nuturing process. It is wrong to shape history in the light we want in hindsight. Just because someone alluded that King Jigme Singye Wangchuck may be a reincarnation of Shabdrung, modern Bhutanese scholars took to claiming that Shabdrung created the Bhutanese nation. The great Lama certainly made major contribution to nation building. But Druk Yul was there even before Guru Rimpoche was invited to Bumthang and that was long, long time of some 800 years before the Ralung Lam sought refuge in Bhutan.

By the way, His Majesty our great Fourth is a Truelpa of Triple Gem qualities in his own right. And facts of history should never be distorted to please or displease any individual, race or region. Such twisted recording would be prejudiced political narrative not authentic history of a nation. 

We need to stick to known historical facts. Drul Yul provided refuge to Lam Ngawang Namgyel who fled Tibet to escape the laws of his home country. He was a great Kagyu Lam and he was backed by  his powerful Bhutanese Chieftan benefactors and therefore, found easy acceptance among the Bhutanese populace especially the Kagyu clans established by Phaju Drukom and his descendants whose root goes back to Druk Ralung and great Kagyu reviver Tsangpajari. Further, Shabdrung 's rise could also have been fostered by powerful Bhutanese clans who understood only too well the Tibetan ploy of using religious figures to enhance their own authority. That was how Monasteries in Tibet spread their influence and on same model, Tibet was largely administered before 1959. Great Lams and Trulkus were figure heads with coteries of monastic or palace officials exercising real powers.

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel is undoubtedly a great political and religious Ruler of his time. He deserves all the national venerations.  However, the man who really was responsible in bringing the east and the west under one central rule was Chogyel Minjur Tempa. The Chunipai Losar of the Eastern Bhutan could be a legacy that began under Chogyel Minjur Tempa because  Shabdrung was dead by that time. And in Bhutanese history books, Chogyel Minjur Tempa's achievements and contributions does not even warrant half a page. Is that a correct and sincere reflection of Druk Yul history? 

By nature Bhutanese like many others  have blind faith in religious figures. Even during rupee crisis, people had no hesitation to demand rupee from the government to go to India for attending  the yearly Kagyu Moelam Chhennmo conducted by renowned Kagyu Rimpoches and HH Dalai Lam's Teachings at Dorji Dhen. Likewise, the greatness of Shabdrung and deep faith in his spiritual and temporal powers are ingrained in Bhutanese society.  However,  Bhutanese history and people cannot ignore other forces and their contributions . Their roles, too, cannot be discounted in Bhutanese nation building history of past centuries before the Wangchuck dynasty was instituted in 1907. We need to correct Bhutanese written history to reflect honest facts before deciding upon any medium ( english or dzongkha) for transmission of the history of our nation. 

Thus  substance is more important than the language used to impart history. I do certainly hope that we attain the age and wisdom of teaching our worthwhile history in our own laguage. Palden Drukpa Gyal Lo!           


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

National Day 17th December 2017 celebrated together with Haa Lomba Day the 29th Day of 10th month of Bhutanese calendar

All enthusiasms and planning to make a great joint celebration graced by Their Royal Majesties and His Holiness.  The area for staging the celebration seems limitted of space. The rehearsal photo in Kuuensel confirms the space constriction.

Haa has a great traditional and naturally formed open stadium on the other side of the Haa Dzong site across the Haa river. It is near about or maybe larger than Changlingmithang stadium in Thimphu. Certainly far more scenic. Haa river flows on one side and on the other side rises the huge hill known locally as Jho Tok- Khap. Few would know that this hill is the Singye
Karmo-Ri  and about the bowl shaped stone in the midst of Dumchho village said to be the milk bowl of the Snow lion. I was educated about this legend by an elderly friend from Dumchho village.

The most historical event held in this open stadium ( much before my birth ) was during the reign of His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck the Second King of Bhutan. The ground is popularly known as Dha- Chab- Sey- Pang ( Official archery ground of Haa Valley when required and all other times the cattle grazing area of Wangcha village ). 

At that long ago historic national event an archery match was played with players selected from all geogs of Haa and the two teams led by His Majesty King Jigme Wangchuck and the His Excellency Dasho Deb Zimpon Sonam Tobgay Dorji. HRH the Crown Prince Jigme Dorji Wangchuck the future Third King and Dasho Haa Drung Jigme Palden Dorji the future Prime Minister were present. Both " so young and handsome and great friends " and so it appeared to elders of my village who were never tired of repeating  the tale. I wish I had paid more attention to many  oral history witnessed live by them during their extraordinary days of history making.  

A grand Tokha was held for the people of Haa. The future King and Prime Minister handed out the the Royal sorlrey/ shudrel  of silver coins to the congregation. My father who was one of the archers thought the two future great  leaders of Bhutan were competing in youthful spirit to outdo each other in the coin distribution. I guess most would have shared the same thought. In Shudrel Phuentsum Ceremony the speed at which shudrel is offered to the gathering  is that of sportsmanship competition spirit.

Today this natural stadium is still a huge open ground except that IMTRAT has fenced off access to Haa Public and has converted this Traditional Official Event Stadium cum cattle grazing ground into Indian Army golf ground.

And poor sorry Haa Dzongkha Administration had no courage or traditional duty sense to hold perhaps the most historical event ( this 2017 National Day Celebration ) since the reign of the Second King,  at this ancient naturally set open  stadium. The Spirits of our Forefathers must be  perplexed by subdued spirit of Haa people. It was far more fiery and dedicated to Palden Drukpa pride at one time of Haa history.  

So dear fellow Haaps let us cramp ourselves in the couryards of Lhakhang Karpo whilst golf balls fly about from foregn hand held clubs at the spacious natural stadium.

Happy National Day! And its never too late to assert one's rightful rights! With Risum Goenpo as our collective witness and inspirations,  wishing all for brighter  sovereign days ahead.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Do not feel disadvataged so easily.

A few days back a fb friend who is also a fellow ( much younger ) of same village root expreesed that there were two laws: one for rich and one for poor. I guess he has had some disappointments. Out of natural affection for a fellow village colleague, I shared my following thoughts. Maybe some of you would find a trace of similarity.   

" There are no different laws for poor and rich though application may differ at times so one has to fight harder if you are devoid of backing. Thats what I do.  What is fundamentally right cannot be turned into wrong. That I learned from  my proven life long experience.

I never think in rich or poor term. The first rule I still follow as I did as a village boy is live within one's means. Do not gamble. Do not waste.  And do not try to keep up with elites or those far fortunate than you. And above all never accept that you are disadvantaged. Every human being is basically equally born and die in like manner. Never ever envy or be daunted ". 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

National Council at peak of performance

1. BBIN ratification ( Bhutan Bangladesh India and Nepal Road Transport Agreement in name but in essence a mini SAARC organisation structure) had to be deferred as NC had wisely  opposed it.

2. The Media Act got passed only after NA accepted all the changes demanded by NC.

3. The Money Bill ( passed by National Assembly ) regarding promotion of tourists to the six Eastern dzongkhags has been rejected by NC. Possibly this will result in the death of the Bill. I still wonder why the Government could not include Zhemgang the least developed Dzongkhag in this tourist incentive Bill if economic enhancement was the main reason. Was the Money Bill a political move aimed at the coming General Election? I am not sure.

In a meeting 2 years back with Lyonpo Sonam Kinga ( I had gone to lobby against Parliament decision to establish Thromdes in all 20 Dzongkhags. I had already  met the Honorable Prime Minister His Excellency Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and later also met the Honourable Speaker Lyonpo Jigme Zangpo. They all patiently heard me out but felt that rules did not permit over turning of Parliament decision immediately. Miraculously much later, Supreme Court Ruled against the immediate estsblishment of the new Thromdes). During the meeting with the Honourable NC Chairman, I had tried to educate myself on how exactly the Upper House worked on proposed Bills.  His Excellency the Chairman of National Council Lyonpo Sonam Kinga patiently described the working methodology of NC. I was very impressed. My response was " Thats quite a workaholic machinery, Lyonpo. Perhaps a direct connect with stakeholders could further strengthen the position of the House because many stakeholders in the proposed Thromdes were kept in the dark by the Executive Agencies". Since then I have paid close attention to the views and ways of National.Council. The working style of the Upper House have produced many nation enhancing decisions and preserved genuine common interests of stakeholders.   

National Council was set up as a Check and Balance Legislative Body and thats what the present MPs at NC are effectively doing. Thank you Honourable Dashos. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

School Exams and the accompanying stress.

" Grandpa, tomorrow is the last exam day for achu SR, Gyamtsho and Lhamo " my grand daughter who had finished her annual Exams two days back happily reminds me. School exams is such a stress. And therefore, I guess she would be only fully and completely stress free when all the siblings,too, have finished their exams.  

Exams weigh heavily upon the mind and life of both school families and home families. Students, teachers, parents and all who are in some ways affliated share the concerns for annual exams.

I am grateful that the academic year went smoothly for the kids. I know they do alright in studies. All I pray is for their good health.

Every morning of school day the grandchildren visit the Chhoshoum as their parents have done in their school days and now before going to office. I guess during exam time they pray to do well in exams.

I am simply contended to see them in good health that enables them to go for the exams. Studies to a large extent is within one's abilities but good health is only for Triple Gem to grant. Thank you Kenchhosoum.

Monday, November 20, 2017

PSL (private sector lending) policy promoted by RMA. Reference Kuensel 20th November, 2017

This new lending scheme introduced by RMA for farmers and small sectors at reduced interest rate of 8% and 8.5% from Banks will not require collateral or guarantor. Banks will in turn be  compensated through tax holiday incentive.
Banks would not have to pay tax on income from interest earned from the loans given under the PSL scheme. So for all practical purpose,  the Banks do not suffer income loss from lowering the lending rate as the same is offset from tax holiday.

A better deal would have been Banks charge the normal 10% interest rate for PSL loans as is being done by BDBL. And upon faithful repayment of the loan with interest, the government refund 1.5 % to 2% as applicable to the loanees. That way unscrupulous loanees do not receive subsidy and others would benefit.  This method  also would ensure that loanees invested the PSL money for the purpose it was taken. And not misused for other activities as RMA has pointed out.

There is, however, a legal hitch to the whole scheme. RMA may have authority to play around with interest rates but when it comes to tax holiday, that is a domain of Finance Ministry. And any financial incentives or tax holiday now falls under Money Bill that has to go through the Parliamentary process.

So now how come RMA is announcing Tax Holiday for Banks without approval from the Parliament? 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The pros and cons of royalty waiver for tourists visiting Eastern Dzongkhags.

The exchanges of views between the  Opposition and the Government in the National Assembly on this royalty waiver Money Bill is respectfully healthy debate and of worthy substance. One hopes that the Financial Committee of the National Assembly would come up with a overall beneficial tourism promotion oriernted Money Bill.

I also hope Zhemgang Dzongkhag gets clubbed with the Eastern Dzongkhag as that Dzongkhag also needs close attention of the nation in all development spheres. From the heartland of Central Bhutan this Dzongkhag rolls down right to the Southern border with India. It is endowed with the widest valleys and perhaps has potential to be Bhutan's agriculture bowl.  It was at one time densely infested with Indian militant camps and insurgents. Bhutan has to bring Zhemgang to the central fold of development.

There is validity in the arguement that it could be lack of amenities and hostile travel route rather than restrictions of  tourist pockets that have hindered tourist visits to the East. However, there is no harm in providing an extra impetus by way of royalty waiver for a limitted number of years.

The government has proposed 3 years of royalty waiver. With my professional background and field experiences in the marketting of tour packages, 3 Years is rather tight and make not be as effective as one would hope. The real impact of royalty free policy would follow from the second year and at least another 2 additional years would be necessary to condition mind set of both foreign travel agents and potential tourists to think of Eastern Bhutan as attractive destination.

I am quite impressed with the proposal of the Opposition leader in regards to ensuring royalty free benefits only for the authentic Eastern Bhutan visitors. There is chance of manipulation. Afterall,  profit is the central objective of all commercial enterprises. And any loophole would adversely affect the success of promoting Eastern Bhutan as a tourist destination after the end of royalty free period.

There is one weakness in Bhutan's foreign
exchange earning system from tourism. The overall rate is fixed by the government including the royalty. However, in order to be competitive, Bhutanese tour operators are engaged in under cutting the tour prices. That means tourists are visiting Bhutan even at lesser rate than the officially set. The loss is primarily borne by the respective Bhutanese tour operators. However, the nation suffers by way of flow back of hard currency that actually should be staying in Bhutan. If some mechanism can be developed and enforced to prevent under table tour pricing, that would in the long run benefit the nation and the operators themselves.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Royalty Free Tourist visit to Eastern Bhutan ( Kuensel front page news today the 14th November)

The government is proposing to waive off
the US $ 65 per tourist per day royalty for visit to Eastern Bhutan. This should really help to push tourism share of Eastern Bhutan.

We may question the government motive at this near term end. However, one must take into account the East West highway condition during intense road widening activities in the past years and Yangphula airport that was closed. So any such earlier waiver of royalty would have had very minimal or no  impact at all for the Eastern Dzongkhags due to travel difficulties..

Hereafter, is the right time to waive off the royalty and promote tours to the region.  The airport in the East is open and Druk Air provided with subsidy to make flights financially viable and the East West highway widening is nearing completion. So it is economically and facility wise the right decision at the right time. And politically, too, for all who are part of the Parliament including all MPs of NC, NA and also at varying level  both Government and Opposion can share the credit.

My one prayer to the government is please include Shemgang Dzongkhag in your submission to the Parliament. I hope the Parliament will favourably not just pass the Fiscal Incentive Money Bill  to promote foreign tourists tours to Eastern Bhutan but also club Shemgang Dzongkhag within the fiscal incentive entitlement.

This Fiscal Incentive Money Bill to promote foreign tourists visit to Eastern Bhutan and Shemgang should have a time period built into it. The most appropriate would be 5 years from the date of receiving the Royal assent. After that such tourist promotional incentive should be allocated to different regions like high altitude regions in the north and far flung
Samtse Dzongkhag and Samdrup Jongkhar ( if it is not included in Eastern Dzongkhag promotional incentive ). 

May tourism flourish along the designed  concept that nourish the economy and preserve the cultural and natural environments of Druk Yul.         

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Petrolium Politics again.

The huge reduction in petrol and diesel price announced by Bhutan Government must be making every driver jubilant. It could also have a rippling relief effect down the line in transportation fares and ultimately to lowering cost of goods at retail level. There is a huge positive boost to overall Bhutanese economy if proper effective monitoring can be implemented.

I have one dark worry about this excise relief provided by India on petrol and diesel imported by Bhutan on the pretext of which Bhutan government has reduced the retail price of petrol and deisel. Surely so many Bhutanese hearts are won by this.

This Indian excise decision comes so close to the heel of the recenlty concluded Bhutanese  Royal Family visit to India. I just hate the possibility of India candy treating our King. Druk Yul cannot afford the return expectations ( candy price ) of the Government of India. And I am quite suspicious of the move of our own government in delivering this appearance of Indian gift to the Bhutanese drivers. I call it " appearance of gift " because there is no real value since Bhutan is eligible to the refund of the excise levied. The difference is timing. 

The excise amount that India levies on petrol and diesel imported by Bhutan is in any case refundable to Bhutan under existing Agreement. So this excise waiver now at source at the time of import is not too different in monetary value from refunding the same at a later date. Therefore Bhutan as a nation neither looses nor gains by this decision of India. 

However, the people of Bhutan are made to feel grateful to India for nothing by this action of Bhutanese Government in passing the excise amount benefit to the consumers now.  The Government could have passed the excise benefit to the consumer long time back if it wanted as it was always getting full refund from India. 

The Bhutanese government could have kept the excise duty in place and instead waived off the 5% sales tax on petrol and diesel that it had levied since coming to power. That way the reduction in price would be less but uncalled for gratitude to India nil. 

I really wish that Bhutan Governnent had not brought the dignity of the 4th King into this politics of the Governments of India and Bhutan. The Kingships of Bhutan are not commodities. It is high time that all involved parties India, Bhutanese Government and our Kings respected the very essence of the Institution of Bhutanese  Monarchy that was  installed by the people of Bhutan on 17th December, 1907. If the 4th King rejoices at this political play on his birthday then Druk Yul is in a more severe second Doklam stage. Along with future diplomatic relationship with China and necessary conclusion of  Northern Border Talks, we would be writting off total sovereignty too.  

A better and uniform BirthDay gift if the government wanted to disburse to the people to celebrate the auspicious occasion would have been waiving off the 5% sales tax on mobile voucher. Though under democracy I would never go for associating the Kings with taxation whether waiver or hiking.

And definitely I am against cash gift to the nation by India when our King visits Delhi. A proper goodwill and true friendship gesture would be according sovereign respect and dignity to Bhutan. And that India never intends. So Bhutan needs a combined dedicated national will power of democracy and Monarchy to assert our own sovereign respect and dignity.



Friday, November 10, 2017

Seeking strength to be an honest simple being during this spiritual day the Descending Day of Lord Buddha.

I am a Buddhist in faith and in spirit a free soul. By call of national duty I have to place the sovereign interests of Bhutan above all else and by fortune of birth I am bonded son of of Haa Valley. And by choice of love I must be a responsible head of S.K.Y Family.

I have bid farewell to my beloved Mother and Father along with several fondly  loved ones few too young to let go  on their journey to the next happier world. The journey has many scars. However, I am blessed and healed with the love and affections of my super Parents and my family. And above all by the infinite Graces of Lord Buddha, Guru Rimpoche and the Triple Gem. I cherish the large immediate and extended families that surround me and rejoice that all near and dear ones are at able stages of looking after themselves and in caring for each other. To each I extend my affections and blessings. In their well being lies my sense of happiness.   

I do not control my birth nor my death. But I do wish to have control of who I am whilst I live. It is something I always believed and I endeavoured to achieve. Since several years ago, I have abandoned serving in any organisation be these of government, corporate, private or public. I do not desire to be part of political or religious or cultural association nor civil societies. However, I am not aloof from their activities as these influence the qualities of life and living in the environment I exist.  

Simply said I am free from all trappings of organised mandates and identities. Just want be only  Wangcha Sangey a citizen of Druk Yul who puts faith in Kuencho Sum and continue the journey on the path of truth, say the truth and write the truth. All in good faith nothing to do with absence of fear but certainly free of prejudice or malice. 

I love Druk Yul. My Country is beautiful and the environnent of life and living almost heavenly here in Druk Yul when compared to many  nations I have travelled through and societies I came across in personal contacts and through other mediums. May Druk Yul be always protected and guided well in her sovereign path by the Deities the Most Precious Pelden Lhamo and Yeshey Gonpo.

Wishing all a happy Lhabaab Dhuechhen Day. May Druk Yul recieve more heavenly Beings in the likeness of Lord Buddha to bless the land and the people.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The wolf preys on the lamb for its own protection says India.

Following is a quote from the Press Release of the Rashtrapati Bhavan of the President of India : 01.11.2017.  It seems that Shri Ram Nath Kovind the new Indian President appointed by BJP Government was engaged in attempts to salvage Indian Governnent Doklam Blunder.

Quote "The President said that security concerns of India and Bhutan are indivisible and mutual. He conveyed deep appreciation for the King of Bhutan’s personal involvement and guidance and the support provided by Bhutan in addressing the recent situation in the Doklam area. He added that the manner in which both India and Bhutan stood together to address the situation in the Doklam area is a clear testimony to our friendship." Unquote.

Bhutan could never have stood with India at Doklam transgression. Bhutan was invaded by Indian Army. Why did the President of India stoop so low in protocol dignity? Shameless Indian Government misusing the Office of their President and making a mockery of the Royal visit.

According to sources connected to Indian official sources, the King of Bhutan had told India that Bhutan did not seek third party assistance in Bhutan-China Border TalK. It seems that His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck took a sovereign stand. This time Indian Leaderships may have got a glimpse of true grit of the Bhutanese Dragon Majesty.

I felt that the Royal visit happened only at the earnest request of the Indian Government. Perhaps that was one of the reasons of Indian Foreign Secretary's visit to Bhutan along with Acting American Ambassador to India..

I cannot confirm what His Majesty told Indian Prime Minister or what reply was given to President of India. Nor how the Royal visit came about. But one thing I observed from the TV footages of the Royal  meetings  with the President and the Prime Minister of India. Apart from the Bhutanese Ambassador to India, there were no other Bhutanese officials. I perceive this a "  diplomatic frost "  from Bhutan side. Bhutan does not need an invading friend who betrays all trusts and breaches the fundamental basis of 2007 Bhutan- India revised 1949 Agreement. 

The Indian media was all about our prince charming. There were no other news to write about. Our King accepted invitation for a State Visit next year. Bhutan has General Election next year. So the State Visit to India can get deferred. Meanwhile maybe India and Bhutan would stick to small talks like how to celebrate the 50 years diplomatic relation that got burnt at Doklam. . Betrayal is shocking and injury is grave to forget for a nation which was invaded. 


Thursday, November 2, 2017

China at the centre of world stage.

Soon after 19th CPC Congress of China, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev came on 1st November to congratulate President Xi Jinping and convey the good wishes of President Putin and to renew the friendship of the two giant nations.

Then on 8th November, President Trump visits Beijing. Naturally President Xi Jinping will be congratulated by President Trump. And admists all the controversies of Noth Korea, South China Sea, Doklam and Trade Imbalance and Dollar Yuan Equations, the two Presidents of America and China will be negotiating on the terms of sharing world power. Rhetorics of western media cannot change the realities of the new world order. And Washington knows it all too well. 

America is the long time Super Power which has dominated world orders till now and China is the rising Super Power. There is no other way but to come to terms with with each other's political and money clouts. Then there is Russia which has risen from the ashes of former Super Power known as USSR. The powers that be have to adjust and learn to share sphere of influence and dominance.

There is no stopping the BRI regardless of what obsticles of delay are put forth by the trio of America, India and Japan plus Australia. Perhaps participation to full advantage could be the wisest path for global goodness and peace. There will be more clarity after this President Trump tour of pacific region centered on China Summit between the two Presidents. 

The lessor but important players like European Union, Australia, India and Saudi Arabia have realised the new changes in world order and are grudgingly adjusting their national aspirations and goals.

On the fringes and fences are notable nations but America dependents like Canada, Israel and Japan. Canada pursues a more independent sovereign policies and have better realations with China whilst Israel has good relationship with Russia. Japan is declining with the ebbing current of Abe- nomics and in futile sabre rattling motion as the advance guard of American contain China strategy.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fiscal Incentives battle between DNT and the Government at High Court.

I do not favour the Government induced Parliament decision regarding Fiscal Incentive. At the fag end of its term this government had surrendered the " fiscal incentive " power of the Cabinet to the Parliament. But only after having exercised what it wanted. So the restriction is upon the next elected government if formed by another political party. PDP Cabinet will not be handicapped even if re-elected because it had already done what it desired during this term.

I was most disappointed with DNT choosing fiscal incentive pretext in the middle of Doklam crisis to distract national attention from critical sovereign dangers.That was playing into the hands of the transgressing foreign aggressor. A sure case of national red light alert when a registered national political party behaves in such manner. I question the timing and therefore the motive of DNT but not  the right to file the case.  
Now I am keenly interested in finding out  whether the Laws of the Land allow an individual or a registered political party from approaching a court of law in matters of deemed wrong doing by a sitting government.

I am convined that for the good of democracy an elected government has to have some leeway and thereby some independent say in running a nation. If everything including every economic matters such as fiscal incentives  must be processed through the Parliament (NA and NC) and be granted royal assent, then we are back to pre 2008. An era where people choose representatives to represent their views in Royal Advisory Council and the National Assembly but His Majesty the King shoulderrd full responsibility. A kind of tampered absolute Monarchy and not blind absolute Monarchy  because the voices of the representatives were always heard and mostly taken into considerations. 

Under the limitted democracy  arrangement since 2008, the Constitution appears to have divided national responsibilities to some extent whereby an elected government had more leeway in social and economic affairs whilst the King exercised the all important national security and welfare affairs including land distribution.

However it must be noted that the same  constitution reserves the authority of His Majesty to convey royal concerns in any matter for dicussion in the Parliament. Also in general Bhutanese people by and large would expect the government of the day headed by the Prime Minister to fully respect the royal  thoughts and visions.

I am certainly not against all powers reverting back  to the Throne especially if a sitting cabinet is unsure of its own capability. The wisest course is to refer to His Majesty when not sure or complication of sovereign nature arises. But here the fiscal incentive politics of both PDP and DNT have different purpose and objective. Both are pursuing selfish party goals.

But I am considering the real possibility that when democracy was " gifted " it was so done with the royal intent " entrusting responsibility " to the people. I cannot recall the exact royal words but His Majesty had commanded something to this effect when Bhutan was a year or so into democracy infancy. The King had commanded that democracy was not a " gift " from the Thorne. It was a grave " responsibility " for people to uphold.   

This royal vision behind the democracy gift must be taken into consideration by the Judiciary of Bhutan whilst conducting the judicial process and forming the all vital opinion on the responsibility and power of an elected Cabinet. Responsibility cannot be upheld in power vaccum. A namesake cabinet cannot represent democratic governance.

Also the verdict of previous landmark constitutional case between PDP the Opposition and DPT the Government needs to be revisited and confirmed because the two political parties have recently expounded differing versions of the verdict in regards to fiscal incentives. I do not recall previous verdict covering the fiscal incentive aspect. So this time there could be a final determination whether fiscal incentive stays a government pre- rogative or not even if DNT case is not admitted for judicial process.  



Sunday, October 29, 2017

About flourishing culture and deminishing sovereignty.

There are zealots and there are hypocrites. And mainly mostly on pursuit of self grandstanding for self career advancement.

Gho and kira enforcement regulations and anti other religion talks are tested path to prove loyalty and dedication for those actually on the fence. Somehow these time tested superficial acts have paid individual dividends at the expense of national interests. So such acts will keep repeating.

Never trust such characters for they would back stab at the first ray of window for a successful uprising. It was few trusted Dzongkhag officials who contributed in fanning the southern uprising and deliberately created a hellish social environment in rural South Bhutan on culture pretext including gho and kira. This Shemgang Dzongkhag gho and kira rule 9am to 5pm is no different in purpose and goal. Beware!

Tibet had everything going in culture and religion and even today Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism flourish from Asia including China to Europe and America to Australia.  And what Tibet never had was real sovereignty. Tibetan authorities were always more into domination of common folks at home  than facing external dangers. There were great many demi god Lamas and even more wealthy Patrons all of whom derived their power and wealth from the sweats of suppressed serf multitudes and national resources. Bhutan can do well to heed the events of pre 1959 Tibetan social  and political oligarchic rule. Oligarchy is not a long term overall nation favouring system.

India directs Druk Yul and Druk Yul  elites dictate what we common people must think and wear from 9am to 5pm. Well the choice is to fully  enjoy the reckless authority until Tibet  happens or take up responsibilities of true national Bhutanese leadership.

Bhutanese value custom and tradition. Culture is not just an identity. It is a very good way of life if decently practised. Culture should not be used to harass people or to segregate society into superior and subordinate classes. To insist upon a commoner to wear gho and kamni for the purpose of flouting an official's colour kamni and patang is segretation of social class. For this reason whilst conducting democratic exercise as in election campaigns, Election Commission forbids colour kamni and patang. Intereseting, isn't it? Maybe true democracy will happen when colour kamni and patang are done away for officials.  Election commission rule of "  no colour kamni and patang "  may be a true ray of democracy light.   

Today Bhutan has our own common written and spoken language. Dzongkhag is a prevalent social and political feature and medium.  Bhutanese films and songs have replaced foreign films and songs. Festivals, religious events and national events are over crowded with citizens dressed in beautiful national dress and adornment. Schools and offfices including that of private enterprises are filled with citizens in gho and kira.

The Kingdom of Bhutan flourishes in gho, kira and other aspects of culture including " doma pane and rimda". There is a deluge of national and religious events with new found prosperity and nationalism spirit at grassroot level.

What Bhutan now thirsts for is that those in position to give sovereign meaning to the gho, kira, patang and colours that they wear and the national events that they oversee and direct.

Stand up against the charge of being " an Indian protectorate state ". Stand up for the sovereign right of pursuing an independant foreign policy. Assert ownership of our vital rivers and resources thereof.  Garner up courage to declare that we are being invaded when sovereign Bhutanese soil is transgressed upon and declared as protectorated land of the Indian Army.

Have the wisdom and courage to differentiate between generous neighbour and endearing foreign master. 

Take care of sovereignty and culture will naturally flourish. To put it simple. Take care of the source and the stream that flow will not dry up. It is deceptive politics to camoflage  gross national failures in sovereign policies by playing up cultural distractions through gho and kira discipline.  Domination and distractions are temporary measures that only delays national disasters.

We Bhutanese love our King and cherish our way of life. Democracy is a dish that quench foreign imagination. Who becomes or is the  Prime Minister of Bhutan is only an icing on the cake. What is critical and important is the Birthday. For Druk Yul, Birthday is Sovereignty.

And the Head of the Druk Yul Family His Majesty the King must protect and preserve the sanctity of this Birth Day. It must be more secure and solid than it was on 16th December, 1907 after which Druk Yul was placed in the care of the Wangchuck Dynasty. Our great forefathers did not seek a kudung ( prefect )  for culture discipline. They had sought a Leader to be the Guardian of Druk Yul sovereignty. All those who hold official positions whether appointed or elected to serve theTsawa Sum must uphold the original task that was entrusted to our Kings.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Once again ordinary citizens are subjected to cultural discipline.

Bhutan Government exercises cultural whip brandishing to perhaps squash freedom of expression and thought.

From adarachu to tracksuit ban in schools to this Shemgang disciplinary rule of gho and kira, this governmrnt has been issuing threats and penalties upon the general populace like nobody's business.

If Bhutan is really serious about preserving sovereignty then most respected and feared authorities, please exercise few much needed national responsibilities from your side.

1. Tell Dantak the Para- Military Force of India or authorize respective Dzongkhag administration to remove all " Welcome Sign Boards " put up by  Force Dantak . The Indian Force should not be welconing visitors to Bhutanese soil.

2. Tell Indian Army to move out of Haa Chelila forests and stop contaminating the sacred and scarce drinking water sources of Wangtsa village. Protection and preservation of natural environment is a constitutional mandate. 

3. Flush out the so called " miscreants " that Royal Government has claimed to be
obstructing the construction of Southern Highway. National ownership of Bhutsnese land is sovereignty.

4. Guard the International Borders of the Kingdom ( prevent transgressions as in Doklam) and protect and preserve real sovereign powers and authorities as in pursuing independent foreign policies. These represent true sovereignty and national identity.

Forcing cultural discipline upon general populace in the name of sovereign identity  and policing rural villages are more the traits of thugs rather than legitimate authority. There are uniforms of pant and shirt in all Defence Institutions and all institutionalised civil Agencies. Yet it is the general populace upon whom cultural whips for gho and kira are applied with legal and financial penalties. Are ordinary people rising up against the existing authority that even their daily wear must be subjected to authoritarian rule? Someone is having bad dreams I suspect. 

What is it that drives our Dasho Dzongdas the representatives of His Majesty the King and the Thrizens the royally  pampered patang walla local leaders to demonise ordinary subjects of the Druk Gyalpo? Any secret political angle to tame the man on the street for the coming general election or what ?


Thursday, October 19, 2017

China the most mystifying and misunderstood giant nation shows the way.

It seems incredible but past Presidents and Prime Ministers of China are accorded public respect and dignified place in the once in 5 years most important gathering of Communist Party of China. The political hierarchy is maintained and well reverred.

There is only one Political Party in China. However, there are several very powerful factions within that single Party. And what is amazing is that past Presidents and Premiers from different factions still have political say and are still respected. They are still influential and important part of Chinese leadership. Quite unlike many political system in other Countries. 

It was a lesson in the art of dignified politics as President Xi Jinping entered the great hall followed by two past Presidents and other Party stalwarts.

I am not really bothered about other giant nations. However, I hope in Bhutan in the not too distant future, we too learn to accommodate political leaders of different political parties. A Political Party in reign need not have to assault the other Parties especially the leaders. After all we are all Bhutanese and all are expected to work in the national interest.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The maglinancy of dumping Southern Bhutan Highway construction.

It is not advisable to air honest views with 2018 Election knocking on the doorsteps. Every view expressed publicly or privately is being dissected as a possible campaign tool. Even then Southern Highway of Bhutan deserves a chance to be revived. I humbly and resolutely stand for Southern Bhutan Highway.

The Government has once again let it be known that the Southern Bhutan Highway would not see the national daylight in the distant future. It is very disheartening. National highway is national life line. I believe that for this reason the PDP Government has initiated the two way lane widening of lateral East- West Highway. And this alone will stand in good deed for the nation and for the PDP Party in the years to come. 

When there is a security problem of terrorists hiding in the forests, you do not submit to ensuring safe hideaway havens for such evil forces. A national highway through the hideouts would destroy the very conducive nature of a hideaway and hideout.  The real risk and shame is compelling  Bhutanese people to use Indian Highway for all times to reach different parts of Bhutan. The real hurdle is subjecting Bhutanese to the vagaries of political moods of the adjoining States of India. Is it still not time yet for Bhutanese citizens to enjoy the freedom of access to all parts of the country through Bhutanese own territories. How long does our national leaders desire that we depend on Indian Highway to reach parts of South Bhutan? 

I do appreciate many innovative undertakings of this Government. So much of what were socially necessary were accomplished. But it is time to stop deceiving oneself and the nation about the Southen Bhutan Highway. Surely with the experiences of  over 4 years heading the nation and 5 years as a very effective opposition leader, the  honourable Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay can appreciate the difference of impact to the national economy, the national livelihood, the national dignity by a National Highway versus feeder roads. Feeder roads are as important as the fingers but Highway is the palm. Please,  let us not fool ourselves.

Most relieved to hear that there is no Indian yoke on the construction of Southern Bhutan Highway. Now do not let some so termed " jungle miscreants " stop Bhutan from realising the all vital highway. Do not insult Druk Yul Kingdom  by be-littling the accomplishment of the great Fourt Druk Gyalpo and our brave soldiers who risked their lives to secure Southern Bhutan from the clutches of Indian militants. If " jungle miscreants alias Indian militants "  still rule the roost of our southern jungles then " Operation All Clear " is certainly not cleared at all. Did we sell part of South Bhutan to the " jungle miscreants " after democracy came to Bhutan?

PDP as the present leading Political Party must commit to taking the nation to greater heights. Stop denying or defending past decisions based on political exigencies. Henceforth,  move forward with the experiences gained on the job and earned goodwill.  Go ahead with the mission to further strengthen the pre- requisite fundamentals of a sovereign nation. Commit to revival of Southern Bhutan Highway project and  establishing substantive relation with China. The priority must be securing Bhutan's borders from friends and foes and neighbours. Southern Bhutan Highway achieves that. Signing Northern Bhutan Border Deal achieves that.

Assure India of continuous friendship and goodwill. India as a true friend must understand that Bhutan needs to establish her sovereign respect and dignity in the international commity of nations. Bhutan cannot forever serve only Indian interest and be subservient to Indian protective policies. The world has changed and so must Bhutan and India in their outlooks and priorities.

Bhutan is touching the edge of 12th Five Year Development Plans. Approaching the 60 Years Mile Stone. And yet our national Leaders do not think it is time to have our own national highway in South Bhutan. What a national leadership shame!  Please, Please! All Political Parties!  Wake Up !  Wake Up to national sovereign needs and the economic, social and political aspirations of the  people of a sovereign Kingdom and the indisputable life enhancement benefits of a nation from the Southern Highway of Bhutan.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Getting it right for India. A free gift from a Bhutanese friend to India.

In the course of Doklam fight back, some Indian Media people projected my protest articles on the  Indian Army transgression and Indian Governmrnt stand as Bhutan being  their " Protectorate state " as pro China and anti India. Maybe Indian Government, too, wrongfully assumed that I did not like India.  However, I maintained that no one in Bhutan was anti India. And I was simply loving Bhutan more.

It now has turned out that I was the best and most well meaning advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

I refer to the 2nd paragraph of my article of 28th August, 2017 titled   " Doklam is free from Trespassers. May the Deities of Bhutan always prevail !"  at Wangcha Sangey blog.

To Quote:

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

Since then the following events took place in India.

1. On 4th September, 2017, Madam Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed the Defence Minister replacing Shri Arun Jaitley.

2. On 25th September, 2017, His Excellency PM Modi Constituted the Economic Advisory Council.

3. On 27th September, 2017, former NDA Finance Minister Shri Yashwant Sinha attacked both Demonitization and GST. He said that the Indian Economy was sliding down hopelessly.

4. On 4th October, 2017, former NDA Cabinet Minister Shri Arun Shourie an economist likened Demonitization to suicide and reiterated  the economic  illness that his colleague Shri Yashwant Sinha had exposed.

5. Nothing can be done about the ill thought out and horribly implemented demonitization except to now shut up about benefits that are invisible except to  deceptive eyes of Shri Jaitley.  But the Government of India has introduced many changes in GST during the months of September and this October. GST rates have been lowered for many products. And process has been simplified for many small companies.

My advice to His Excellency PM Narendra Modi has hit the bull's eye. Relieved that Indian Government has responded appropriately and that knowledgeable senior Indian Leaders have publicly confirned my honest assessment of demonitization and GST. And seasoned political commentators in India have cautioned India from taking Bhutan for granted as in Doklam transgression. I am satisfied with changes in Defence Ministry of India but still look forward to the Indian Army Chief stepping aside. India deserves a cool and decisive military leader not a shrill saber rattler.

Now I am not at all sure how the Bhutanese Government will respond to my honest appeals.

1. Get the Bhutan- China Border Deal done at the earliest. Not for China but for Bhutan's own status among international commity and for shedding once and for all times this " protectorate " tag from India. 

2. Nothing is worth compromising national sovereignty. There is no sales price for Druk Yul. Our Royal Institution predates Indian Independence by 42 years. So there is no question of " helping rulers to rule in Bhutan " by India.   The power to elect the Government is in the hands of the Bhutanese voters. So fear not India for institutional survival because real powers are based on the will of our forefathers and our own voters.

Bhutan cannot afford to get involved between China and India regional hegemony tussle. We cannot be a puppet toy of America, China or India. So be Bhutanese even if that means doing without the offer of  " carrots " like softer power project deals and better electricity price or any other cakes for subjugation. Do not worry about Amochu and the other bigger hydro project in the pipeline or 12th Plan budget.  Just concentrate on getting  the ongoing power projects completed at the soonest.  

Bhutan needs genuine friends who appreciate Bhutanese national aspiration. India knows what sovereignty means to Bhutan. The days of a Kingdom in pawn position is over. Palden Drukpa Gyel Lo !

The complexity of Initiation ( Loong/Lung ) of Dharma.

Presently Kangjur Loong is being transmitted by His Holiness the 70th Jhe Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra at Kuensel Phodrong,Thimphu, Bhutan.  It is a herculean task of continuous reading of over hundred volumes of Buddha Teachings every day from dawn to dusk for 3 months duration. His Holiness is not young anymore and yet carries on at such energetic pace.

I was deeply tempted to attend the whole of  Loong transmission but felt inadequate. The perception I got from various quarters was that a full and complete Loong meant listening to every word being read out. Just felt that would be impossible for me to achieve. Firstly attending it everyday was not a guarantee ( Last year Election Commission of Bhutan banned the congregation from attending the Moenlam Chhenmo proceeding on the prext that it was a voting day at another constituency. Over 99,9% of the comgregation were not voters of that particular constituency. An exercise of senseless democratic authoritarian power in my opinion ).  And secondly  even more daunting is to successfully listen to every line if not each word. So I limitted my role to sharing the information about the Kangjur Loong so that others who may have not known come to hear about it. 

Yet Dharma Loongs have been transmitted in this manner for centuries. Therefore, there must be more to it than catching every word or hearing every line or attending it everyday.  I am not talking about the blessing that a believer could receive attending such spiritual awakening event even for few hours. That goes without saying.

I went for a few hours this Monday knowing it would be less crowded at Kuensel Phodrong.  Climbed the baby steps designed to increase the count rather than facilitate proper climb. Performed the bows to the Buddha and the Kikhor. In my prayers, I thanked Lord Buddha and His Holiness.  Proceeded on a round whilst listening to the oral transmission. Offered my nyenda inside the Temple. And as always wondered why Sangay Nampar Nangsey and all other holy figures were crowded almost like being imprisoned within that congested space created by the pillars constructed to hold the huge Buddha statue placed on top outside. The surrounding holy figures could have been placed outside the pillars facing outward but circling the main figure within. Maybe it is supposed to be a scene of ' zomdu or shheyzom ' of the gods. I suppose the designer would have the appropriate holy explanation that was worth ruining the aesthetic part as well as the convenience of audience for devotees.

The oral transmission ( recitation by His Holiness )  was clearer at the back of the Temple possibly because  the area was unoccupied and so free of any sound barrier. Reached back to the spot where I began the round and sat down among the line just outside the tents and listened for over 30 minutes. Was able to catch some part of each line. Realised it was more monumental than I imagined to catch each word at my level of scripture reading. A much higher proficiency would be required along with plenty of youthful energy or deeper meditative practice to attain even a moderate success at receiving the Loong in all propriety.

I thought of getting purified and at the same time be blessed by taking a sip of water at the blessed environment. However, the two filtered water taps placed side by side courtesy Jiten Wangchuk Tshogpa was crowded with thirsty worshippers. Maybe collecting water to go with lunch which was nearing. So I settled for the thought that the air at Kuensel Phodrong too would be blessed. That self consolation thought opened up to another thought that, maybe, whole of Thimphu and even all of  Bhutan could be blessed. The goodness of Dharma transmission cannot be bound to a particular place. Thus in a way I hope that  all who are aware about the Loong transmission and believe in its essence may receive the Loong even without attending let alone hearing every line of recitation made by His Holiness.

Faith is incredible. It is said faith can move a mountain. The Kangjur transmission is well into the 3rd month. And hundreds of devotees especially the elderly lay devotees are at Kuensel Phodrong day in and day out from dawn to dusk. Not that they can hear the words or understand the meanings. Just the virtue of belief in the completeness of Buddha and trust in the Teacher.  Faith seems to over come  their old age, discomforts and other  physical challenges.  How they manage the feat is in itself a wonder. It is most humbling for me.

May His Holiness be blessed with good health and may all sentient beings be fortunate to attend the Teachings of His Holiness in the years to come. His posture that I have seen many times but not this Monday and his voice are uniqueness to only himself. His Holiness is just overpowering!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Doklam and Dhokha ( Betrayal )

Indian foreign Secretary and United States Acting Ambassador in India made a joint  visit to Bhutan during the 1st week of October.  There is a photo of Mr. Jaishankar with His Majesty the King in Kuensel issue but nothing about the context of his visit. 

The foreign Secretary of India met with His  Majesty the King and the Fourth Druk Gyalpo as well as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Bhutan.

Bhutan was silent about the visit of the  American Acting Ambassador  at the same time as that of the Indian foreign secretary. 

There must be many reasons for their joint visit. But core objective has to be containing China which means curtailing Bhutanese national  freedom in external affairs and restricting internal policies and administration. 

India is a vast  democratic nation  and therefore,  the Indian media carried news of what Secretary Jaishankar accompanied by his Joint Secretary who looks after Bhutan and Nepal Desks could be discussing with Bhutanese top leaders. Here in Bhutan, we can only sort of guess what America and India wants Bhutan to do and what  they may have promised  in return.

I believe  it has to be a " carrot and stick " offer from India. I did not know of the Acting American Ambassador visit until the news in Indian media and tweet from the lady herself  ( MaryKay Loss Carlson ).  America would have  offered the usual  game of " cat and mouse ". Her offer is same to all weak tiny " political  toys " of America.

India's carrots  could consist of some relief in debt volume. Some dangling of better terms in hydropower deals and electrical sale price and immediate relief in stuck up  old Indian rupee notes in RMA vaults. And ofcourse guaranteed tenure for the most amenable Political Party in 2018. Plus less stoking of religious and ethnic sentiments among the  Bhutanese national society. 

And finally the axe offer of assurance of all deep respects for our Royal Institution. That would be in real essence somewhere along the line that the Indian Army Commanding General ( after his visit to Bhutan ) had on his fb wall to quote, " helping rulers to rule " under the photo of him with the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. He personally did not write the statement.  He just retained on his wall someone's else' s caption/ comment. 

The brashness and cruelty  of America and India to squeeze this mountain Kingdom of ours just to satisfy  their politics of slighting China is beyond political nastiness. It's bloody strangulation of Bhutan. Bhutan for them is only a pawn to snub China. They do not care what happens to Bhutan and her people. For them it is ' just use and throw away ' at their national convenience.

I pray that our Deities and our brave and wise Leaders will have the capacities to resist such grave political arm twistings and ofcourse ward off  temptations of secured power in luxury comfort which works wonders with many corrupted leaders  of third world nations. Most never lived long enough to enjoy the guarantees  of power and wealth.

India is backed by America and American stooge Japanese Government. Perhaps India wants Bhutan to tell China that " no more Bilateral Bhutan- China Border Talks unless Indian representative is included whilst discussing Doklam issue between China and Bhutan."  This was angled in Indian News report.  It is a rediculous and preposterous proposition. Did India insist upon China that Bhutan must be represented when India and China settled their international boundaries at the Doklam tri- junction?

Bhutan is supposed to host the 25th Border Talks with China this year.  Now India may be directing Bhutan to stall the Talks unless Indian terms are met. China will never agree to discuss terms of  Bhutan- China Border Settlement with India. And Bhutan should not accept such bullying from the Indo- American duo.

So what happens hereafter. We in Bhutan can only guess again. 

1. Probably Bhutan will not invite China for the 25th round of Bhutan- China Border Talks and sign the Border Settlement. Thus confirming the political subservient status of Bhutan and her leaders to India.

Bhutan had, under this Government, already cancelled Southern Bhutan Highway construction and signed BBIN at the insistence of India. One more submission to Indian authority especially with General Election coming up round the corner soon, may be good Party political decision. Hard to predict. I just hope that my belief that PM Tshering Tobgay will never betray RISUM GOENPOS of Haa,  does not turn out to be my own self delusion. 

2. China will realise that Bhutanese leaders will utimately side with India in its antagonistic policies towards China. This year India had invaded China using Bhutanese territory.  China will never allow that to happen again.

3. Therefore, through the length of Bhutan -China Border, China will fortify her defence positions. What were temporary camps will become permanent and areas that were rarely patrolled will see continuous presence of their force. China will take all precautions to prevent  another Doklam type transgression by Indian Army from Bhutanese territories.

4. There maybe a possibility of real catastrophic consequences if Bhutanese authority fails to firmly turn down Indian Army wish to put Indian Army Mountain Brigades into Haa Valley thus  converting our western most  Dzongkhag into Indian Chumbi Valley. Again it is an idea floated in Indian media. 

5 . Such hints in Indian  media  probably originates from sources within Indian Government. And such public rumours will further create trust deficit between China and Bhutan.  A China wary of Bhutanese national intention will naturally cause Bhutan to  fall more into the Indian orbit of control. The Bhutan- India re- negotiated Treaty of 2007 may not be changed in words but for all practical purpose, it may just be reduced to a piece of glorified toothless document. 

Already Indian political leaders and army generals have claimed that 2007 renegotiated 1949 Bhutan - India Treaty made Bhutan a protectorate state of India and therefore,  Indian Army had the right to march into Bhutan without being asked as they did at Doklam. India could very well again use Bhutanese territory  to attack China.  

6.  Both America and India know that China will never negotiate with India about Bhutan- China Border Settlement. Thus the objective is only to retain Bhutan totally under India's dominance. In other words,  India and America will do everything ( physically threaten or politically bribe) to reduce Bhutan into an Indian " Protectorate state " forever.

Bhutan at people level have no way of knowing how the political storm from India is affecting the Kingdom. But if Bhutan refuses to hold Talks with China this year and make serious moves to sign the Border Settlement then for sure the storm would turn out to quite a doom for the Kingdom's future.

May Triple Gem protect the future of our country and we the people. Palden Drukpa! Lha Gyel Lo ! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Talk of Premonitions about India and Bhutan.

Yesterday towards dawn, I had a dream. I thought it was a terrible dream. The whole of Haa Central Valley was swirling with never imagined Indian population. There was also three statues of RISUM GOENPOS.  But an Indian para- military Unit had modified the busts in plaster of paris and one fitted with Punjabi turban and another with cloth turban like head gear that I think Rajasthan people wear. The third I could not make out except kind of long hair.  I was figuring out how to remove the plaster of paris mold without damaging the original busts of the RISUM Goenpos. Then I saw the swirl of hordes of Indian population. 

What disturbed me was during Tsechu celebration, I never thought of anything about India and yet this dream happened out of blue. But this evening I realised how pertinent my dream was. I was unaware but the foreign secretary of India had arrived in Thimphu yesterday and today according to BBS news, he had met His Majesty the King, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Bhutan. So almost like my dream, it was India the whole environment.

I was not worried about my person. But I had jotted down the dream in detail  yesterday morning out of perplexity.  And last night I related it to my wife because it kept pricking my mind. I thought  something politically could be happening though I had no way of knowing anything.
There was no news yesterday of the arrival from New Delhi. I learnt the vocabulary ' premonition ' so long ago in school but this is the first time a political premonition woke me up before dawn yesterday.

I do pray and hope that all is well with Palden Drukpa. Palden Drukpa! Lha Gyel Lo!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Comparing the incomparable Nepal and Bhutan. The innocence of Bhutanese public and civil and elected leadership.

Recently the PDP  (  People's Democratic Party) shared an article " Looking Out "by Sujeev Shakya in Kathmandu Post on 26th September with the Party's comment " What could other leaders learn from the Bhutanese Prime Minister".

This article is about the author's perception of Bhutanese Prime Minister possessing a better " global mind-set" than Nepalese Prime Minister. He felt that Nepal is more inward looking whilst Bhutan was outward looking.

Bhutan is fortunate that we always had and have few fantastic national leaders under the benevolent guidance of  their Majesties the Kings of Bhutan.  And I was probably an earlier recogniser of these facts. In fact I wrote about it in 2013 after India intervened in the General Election. A small nation with limitted resources somehow have been compensated by presence of outstanding individuals in every era who served the Kings and the people to steer the nation to secure path. I, therefore, can comprehend why the author Sujeev Shakya is impressed by our capable Prime Minister His Excellency Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. So were many impressed by former Prime Minister His Excellency  Jigmi Yoeser Thinley.  Therefore  I am not confused by the perception of the author. I do not think any  Nepal Prime Minister has much to learn from Bhutanese Prime Ministers as eloquent and socially gregarious as our PMs are.

What worried me was possible misunderstanding and therefore the under estimation of the  depth of Nepalese political Leaderships acumen by our ruling political party leaders  and other political parties' leaders who may direct Bhutanese destiny hereafter. We are yet to move away from the sole political orbit of India. But Nepal is on another political Plateau. Nepal's outlook is for Nepal as a nation. Bhutan's  outlook till now seems to be pleasing India no matter what.  

I want to share few real life  facts about Nepal from recent historical events.

1. Nepal became a multi- party Democracy. Some would say through popular unrest. What I heard was that the King had actually said that he would abdicate if people so wanted. The King refused to use the Army to fight off foreign manipulated or encouraged so called democratic forces.  His Majesty was only standing up against India only for the Nepalese people and Nepali sovereignty. Later the great King and his whole ruling Royal Family was massacred. The blame was put on the Crown Prince but public of Nepal was wiser. They mourned for the Royal Family including the Crown Prince.

The  King died but his political legacy remains true and strong. Today Nepal is wooed by both India and China. The King's vision to have both economic and political relationships with China and India has strengthened Nepal and improved the  hereafter national prospects for the people and the country. The Royal Family paid the ultimate sacrifice in Royal Blood but saved a nation and her people from foreign subjugation. 

2. At one time, Bhutanese Ministers used to gloat over how Bhutan got India to invest in hydropower projects in  Bhutan whilst Nepalese Leaders " foolishly " rejected Indian offer. Now one wonders who were the wise guys?  

3. During the last big earthquake that Nepal suffered, so many nations and agencies came forward to assist. However,  when few nations and Agencies demonstrated ulterior motives that posed security and political dangers, the Nepali Government and  Army High Command ordered all to get out of Nepal. Even India and America had to get out. The courage and will of the people and  Nepali leadership in preserving their sovereignty and national policies is beyond self survival of a King or a Prime Minister. Historical events stand testimony to such personal sacrifices.

4. Nepal have had so many change of elected Governments. Such frequency in change of Governments is damaging to socia- economic development and sense of peace and stability. And yet none of these Government changes caused a political crisis similar to 2013 of Bhutan. Bhutan had in democratic governance sense and description a proper formal change of government. A political party completed its term of 5 years and election was held which elected another political party to resume the reign of Governance.  And yet the wounds of political grievances are still festering. Far worse than that of Nepal. Signs of utmost political immaturity in Bhutan I would say.

5. The Government and people of Nepal went through the excruciating economic pains for several months due to blockade imposed by India and unrest in the southern belt of the nation.  Neither the major earth quake nor the economic blockade defeated the indomitable national spirit of Nepal. Whilst a gas cylinder cost hike by India had Bhutanese Political leaders in total disharmony. Thus in reality, Bhutan has a long way to catch up in political maturity and sense of national entity. Let alone looking down upon the Nepal scene.    

I think the trails of political processes show that Nepalese political parties have used foreign resources to achieve recognition and  gain power in Nepal. However, apart from Prime Minister Koirala ( I could never comprehend Koirela's closeness to India almost like that of Kazi Lhendup of Sikkim ),  all Prime Ministers of Nepal ultimately stood for Nepal. They know to whom they originally owe their status. Their source of power and legitimacy is Nepal and Nepalese,  not  foreign agencies or Governments.

For these reasons , I would never belittle Nepal and the Nepalese.  I fully respect the political Leaderships of Nepal for their wisdom and dedication to Nepal and Nepali sovereignty that goes beyond self political survival.

May the two Himalayan nations remain friends and support each other at crucial times. So far the records of affection and trust between Bhutan and Nepal is very admirable.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

President Trump at the United Nations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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

Dear Dr. Brian C Shaw,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

My response to your comments are placed hereunder:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wangcha Sangey