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.