Wednesday, May 2, 2018

His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck the Third King of Bhutan. Celebrating the 89th Birth Anniversary!

Born:  2nd May, 1929, Trongsa, Bhutan.
Married:  1951 in Paro whilst as Paro Penlop.
Coronation: 27th October,1952
Died 21st July,1972, Nairobi, Kenya ( Africa ).
Reign; March 1952- July 1972.
Father: His Majesty King Jigme Wangchuck the Second King of Bhutan.
Mother: Her Majesty Queen Phuentsho Choden Wangchuck. 

Royal Siblings from Her Majesty Queen Pema Dechen Wangchuck the second Queen of King Jigme Wangchuck and  sister of Queen Phuentsho Choden Wangchuck:   

1. HRH Princess Choki Ongmo Wangchuck
2. HRH Prince Namgyal Wangchuck the Paro Penlop
3. HRH Princess Deki Yangzom Wangchuck
4. HRH Princess Pema Choden Wangchuck

Queen: Her Majesty Queen Kesang Choden Wangchuck daughter of Deb Zimpon Sonam Tobgay and Rani Chuni Dorji sister of Sikkim Chogyel.

Royal Offsprings:

1. HRH Princess Sonam Choden Wangchuck
2. HRH Princess Dechen Wangmo Wangchuck
3. HRH Prince Jigme Singye Wangchuck ( His Majesty 4th King of Bhutan ).  
4. HRH Princess Pema Lhadon Pem Pem Wangchuck.
5. HRH Princess Kesang Choden Wangchuck.

King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck achieved in 20 years reign what Bhutan is still struggling to maintain since then.

Incredible Royal Visions and Deeds.

1. Made Thimphu the Capital of Bhutan and led Bhutan into the modern world. The King is reverred as Father of modern Bhutan.

2. Laid the foundation of Democracy through establishment of National Assembly and Royal Advisory Council with members elected by the People and which functioned in unity. Abolishing serfdom and carrying out the 1st national land distribution task  and reducing rural taxes to nominal level.  

Today we have the same democratic structure under different nomenclature of National Assembly and National Council. Unfortunately more disunited than united. I guess that is the nature of democracy practised elsewhere in the super modern world.

3. Strengthened the promotion and preservation of culture and tradition and accorded recognition and role to Dratsang the source of Bhutan's culture, tradition and political wisdom in the administration of the nation. Dratsang ( Monk Body ) was part of both National.Assembly and Royal Advisory Council as well as Royal Audit Authority.  Today it stands banned from all political posts as well  as national administrative posts.

Dratsang is now a subordinate  national institution though reverred but whose activity to even  practise Dharma teaching in public is banned during political election years as in 1918. The irony of once a Buddhist Kingdom now in secular mode to our spiritual detriment. 

4. His Majesty the Third King had an early retirement  plan  and crowning his son the Crown Prince as the  successor. It was announced to the National Assembly but could not be fulfilled because of his own sudden death at the age of 43.

His son the Fourth King fulfilled that royal plan of early retirement and crowning the successor.

5. The Third King surrendered the Royal.  Prerogative Power over National Assembly.  No Royal Assent was required for National Assembly Resolutions to take effect. 

Today Royal Assent is required for Resolutions of the Parliament to take effect. The philosphy of Wangchuck Dynasty Rule may not have changed but political scenario seems to have drastically evolved. Bhutan has had to be extra sensitive since the Kingdom of Sikkim became a part of Indian Union as per supposed decision of elected representatives  without the consent of the Chogyel and without a nation wide referendum.

6. His Majesty the Third King had to quell an uprising in Southern Bhutan in the 1950s. A similar uprising but on a larger scale had to be put down in 1989-1990s during the Fourth King reign. The His Majesty the reigning  King is very attentive to all regions and emotions including the not so transparent sentiment in the Southern Belt. I wish a Southern Highway right along the Bhutan side of Indo- Bhutan international Boundary has been built. It can prevent cross border infiltration the historical root cause of political abd social disturbsnce in the South. And ofcourse it would be a great boon to Bhutanese economy and freedom.of travel within Bhutan un- subjected to political disruptions in the Indian States of WestvBengal and Assam through which Bhutanese are still compelled to travel from one part of Bhutan to reach the other part. A disgrace after completion of planned development of 55 years ( 11 numbers of 5 years socio- economic development Plans ).

7. His Majesty the Third King established the bilateral relationships with India the giant neighbour in the South. The 1st Prime Minister of Bhutan Honourable Jigme Palden Dorji played the trusted  key role in developing the Indo- Bhutan interactions under the guidance of the King.

The 2nd Prime Minister of Bhutan, His Excellency Jigmi Yoeser Thinlay attempted to initiate a working relationship in 2012  with China the larger neighbour of Bhutan in the North. But that was scuttled by political forces of some kinds. There is much confusion about the whole episode.

So today even after more than 50 years of  establishing bilateral relation with the neighbour in the South by the Third King, the successive governments of Bhutan have failed to establish diplomatic relationship with China in the north. A kind of malignant wart in the heart of Bhutan's foreign affairs history. 

8. His Majesty the Third King achieved the herculean task of getting  Bhutan admitted to United Nations in 1971. That further diluted the implied essence of 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty Clause II that required Indian guidance for Bhutan's external affairs. Bhutan had never willingly agreed to such a term that encroached upon sovereign dignity.

That Clause II  which was a copy cat of term imposed by British-India upon Bhutan in the Sinchula Treaty was altogether done away with in the renegotiated Indo- Bhutan Treaty of 2007. The re- negotiation of the 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty took place in New Delhi over several days between the Bhutanese Delegation led by His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and Indian delegation led by Prime Minister ManMohan Singh of India.

The finished product was ditto old 1949 terms except two vital clauses were removed. The one about seeking Indian guidance by Bhutan in matters of her foreign affairs and the other that required India to pay Bhutan an annuity for the 18 Duars territories of Bhutan that were annexed by British-India. The renegotiated Agreement was signed by HRH Crownn Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck of Bhutan and His Excellency Pranab Mukerjee the External Affairs Minister of India.

Since Bhutan's entry in UN  ( 1971 ),  in the last 48 years, Bhutan has been unable to establish diplomatic relationship with any of the  5 Permanent Members of the United Nations.

During the 1st democratic government tenure ( 2008 to 2013) , diplomatic relationships were established with a number of Countries but not with any major power or donar nations. During the 2nd democratic Government (2013 to 2018 ), total concentration was devoted to relationship with India. And that blew up into the face of the Kingdom when the Indian Army' transgressed  upon Doklam in June, 2017. Indian Army only  retreated in the face of strong opposition from the Chinese forces.

9. After the Third King passed away, Bhutan faced both external and internal threats. His Majesty the 4th King averted similar fate that befell upon Sikkim in 1974. Quelled the Southern uprising of 1989- 1990. Vanquished the Indian Militant Forces from Southern Bhutan in 2003 and constituted an administrative system akin to democratic system elsewhere. The health, education, communication and transport systems were improved and expanded. Druk Air was established. Major hydro-power projects undertaken with vision to harness what was termed " white gold ". Major international and regional organizations like Non- Aligned and SAARC came with much promise but now whimpering to defuct status due to major upheavals in in regional and world  geo-political situation.  

10. Today the old East- West highway in Bhutan is being expanded to double lane. Tashi Airways joined Druk Air. Mobile and Internet system and Cable TV provides convenience and exposure to outside world. Electrification and rural road system connects most parts of the nation.
Development progress under successive Governments with guidance from the Throne are laudable. 

11. In my personal.view, what Bhutan now needs in addition to development works and nuturing of the democratic political institutions, is that  the nation must exercise true sovereign responsibility in matters of  Foreign Affairs. The Third King exercised sovereign Powers as in demanding India sponsor Bhutan's entry into UN. Bhutan's entry to UN was also backed by China. And Bhutan was the first nation to  recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign Country even before India did. 

When Prime Minister Pandit Nehru of India wrote to Late Prime Minister Jigme Palden Dorji expressing India's anxiety about some rumoured talk of Bhutan establishing relationship with a third Country, the Third King put the letter from Nehru before the National Assembly of Bhutan. The response to Nehru was that Bhutan was not yet ready to establish relationship with a third Country but when Bhutan finds herself ready and makes such a decision, India a good friend of Bhutan  will be informed. The third country though not named by India or Bhutan was China.  His Majesty was very clear about the sovereign right of Bhutan to decide upon foreign relation with any Country including China. The Clause II of 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty even at that time in early 1960s was considered by Bhutan a dead residue of Sinchula Treaty imposed by British-India and never accepted by Bhutan. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck hadcrefused to leave New Delhi until India agreed to delete the offensive clause during the re- negotiiation of 1949 Treaty in 2007 between India and Bhutan. Therefore,  Bhutan should  not be  failing in exercising the sovereign right to determine her own foreign affairs and external relationships.  

However, Today Bhutanese democratic Government has our sovereign status fluttered by Indian wind and whim.  There is unhealthy hesitation in concluding the Sino- Bhutan Boundary Talks. And Bhutan is the only Country that is shy of necessary political will and confidence in establishing formal ties with China despite sharing long international borders with China. But with the blessings of our Deities and the spirit of past Kings and guidance of present Kings, courageous wisdom and political will should be taking charge of Bhutan's future path  without further delay.

May the Blessings and the  endeavours of the Third King, the 4th King and His Majesty the reigning King make  possible for Bhutan to secure friendly and lasting equal relationships with the giant two neigbours India our friend and benefactor and China the friendly economic super power of the world.

Palden Drukpa Gyal Lo. 


  1. New Delhi portrayed the settlement of the Dokalam standoff in August 2017 as a huge diplomatic victory for her. Her so-called strategic patience had made President Xi withdraw with his tail between his legs. Henceforth, PM Modi would walk tall on the world's stage having bested the Dragon in that sliver of Bhutanese (not Indian) territory. The Indian media was full of praise for Modi's muscular foreign policy. About five months later (Feb 2018) there was a constitutional crisis in the Maldives when its President Yameen sacked, arrested and imprisoned the Chief Justice and another judge for attempting a judicial coup. As we all knew, President Yameen had imposed a state of emergency for nearly two months much to the chagrin and consternation of India, who was then seriously mulling a military intervention as her geostrategic sensitivities and concerns had been ignored by Yameen. Fortunately, as Providence would have it, there were convincing reports of a flotilla of 14 Chinese warships lurking off the waters of the Maldives, ostentatiously to protect her citizens and economic interests in the archipelago. Thus, a probable Indian invasion of the tiny nation had been averted for the time being. Now, if Thimpu has established diplomatic relations with Beijing or any of the other UNSC permanent members, the Bhutanese people's efforts to preserve their genuine political independence and strategic autonomy will be tremendously facilitated. There will then be little or no need for Thimpu to seek guidance from India for any aspect of her foreign policy. As a strong supporter of Bhutanese independence and genuine self-government, I eagerly look forward to the day when Thimpu has the complete freedom to act in her own best social and economic interests. How long more has Thimpu to wait to move a little away from the southern hegemon and pivot a little - just a little - towards the Middle Kingdom which is beyond a shadow of a doubt more development-orientated,progressive and less jingoistic? BTW, I am a SE Asian of non-desi origin. May the Lord Buddha bless Bhutan always.

  2. Bhutan should definitely establish diplomatic relation with USA. And even with China. Diplomatic relations are key indicator of sovereignty and independent country recognised. His majesty the king should move quick in this.