Showing posts from June, 2013

Bhutan China India Triangle

By Rajeev Sharma

This article seeks to examine the growing strategic and diplomatic importance of Bhutan for its big neighbours: China and India. China has recently intensified its efforts to woo Bhutan and engage with it directly, despite the lack of diplomatic ties between them.

To improve relations with Bhutan, China first has to resolve its border dispute with the tiny Himalayan nation. China shares a 470-km-long border with Bhutan. The border is not formally demarcated and the border dispute is a major source of irritant between the two countries that hasn’t been resolved even after they have had 19 rounds of talks so far. China claims a large chunk of the border territories, stretching from Doklam in the west and then from Gamochen to Batangla, Sinchela, and down to the Amo Chhu. The disputed area in Doklam covers 89 square kilometers, while the disputed areas in Sinchulumpa and Gieu cover about 180 sq kms. Frequent Chinese incursions into Bhutan have added to tensions in Sino-…

Bhutan And China: Two Friendly Dragons? – Analysis

May 30, 2013

Bhutan has had many rounds of talks regarding border dispute, but never a high level interaction with the Chinese government. The recent meetings between Prime Minister Jigme Thinley of Bhutan and Premier Wen Jiabao of China in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 came as a surprise to many especially to India, which sees Bhutan as its closest ally.

Will this sour the ties between India and Bhutan? How is Bhutan balancing both these powers which are also its immediate neighbours? Bhutan today cannot afford to support one and antagonize another because of its geo-strategic compulsions.
Souring Relations with India?

The first official diplomatic relation Bhutan established was with India, which was concretized with the signing of Indo-Bhutan friendship treaty in 1949. After Article (2) of the Treaty that read, “Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the government of India in regard to its external relations” was finally deleted in 2007, Bhutan opened its door for other countri…

Bhutan: Democratically Challenged? – Analysis

May 21, 2013
By Marian Gallenkamp

There are a number of analysts and activists who would strongly reject the question mark at the end of this commentary’s title, and instead replace it with an exclamation mark. Then there are others, whose romanticized vision of a last ‘Shangri La’ cloud their perspective on the, not so romantic, reality of politics and governance. In seeking the middle ground between the activist and the idealist, this piece tries to disentangle and rectify some of the objections and criticism most commonly voiced against Bhutanese democracy.

Firstly, time and again, the sincerity of Bhutan’s unique transition to democracy has been questioned. More precisely, the intentions of His Majesty the fourth king of Bhutan have been viewed with suspicion on the ground that his move towards democracy was merely a PR-stunt to gain international legitimacy, avoid public pressure, satisfy his subjects’ demands for participation and ultimately secure the position of the monar…