Friday, July 26, 2013

An expression of sentiment to former PM of Bhutan

Your Excellency Jigmi Yoezer Thinley,                                        Dated: 26th July, 2013

I hope Your Excellency, Aum and other family members are keeping well. I had waited till today to greet Your Excellency for the simple reason of waiting out the turmoil events.

It’s a beautiful Country we have with all the green valleys, hills, rivers and mountains. Temples, Chortens and monasteries adorn the landscape and people still believe that the flutter of mani flags will guide the spirit of the deceased and lungdar prayer flags will grace the fortune of the living. In a way life is rooted in such simplicity of faith. And yet at times we Bhutanese act viciously and thoughtlessly rush head long into disharmony.

I never really hoped for manna from heaven or feared sulfur from hell but I did believe in the goodness of our nation and broadness of our national outlook. At times like these, more than at other times, and especially at a senior age, one feels desperate in search of a meaningful sign that post a light of hope for better things to come. I have always yearned for stronger national footing and more control of our national destiny. As much as I am grateful to our giant neighbor India for all the assistance we have received, it was never my thought to seek more generosity and national steering from India.

Where did the precious gift of democracy go astray and what made people, institutions and political parties so hopelessly lose trust in each other and make possible Indian intervention with impunity in our General Election?

I suppose ardent supporters of both DPT and PDP would be tempted to divide Bhutanese into 2 groups but thankfully life of ordinary people can never be all politics because politics in a way is a luxury for most common Bhutanese struggling to etch out a decent living or for a youth seeking sustainable employment.
DPT has changed its opposition party leadership, so I suppose Your Excellency has decided to take a back seat. I am as yet, unsure, whether passive or active role would heal the social and political wounds the nation seemed to have suffered. But wounded as a nation we are today, otherwise: 1. There would not be a 15 point publicly declared election grievances submitted not to the Election Commission but to the Royal Person of His Majesty the King, relating directly to royal affiliated institutions such as Royal Bhutan Army and Royal Secretariat. Whatever the ground realities may have been during the heat of the Election, these submissions, as necessary as deemed, to point out flaws in election process, the procedure followed is nationally unpalatable and further deteriorates the post election status. 2. There would not have been rumors of an organized protest march to your residence which again is rumored to have been stopped by Royal Command thus unnecessarily fuelling speculations of social uncertainties and political aggression and 3. We would not now have a situation of compromised national sovereignty with India publicly toying with the sentiment of Bhutanese and national status of an economically weak Kingdom.

Not only as a citizen of the nation but as a born and bred Bhutanese totally beholden to the Kingdom and the Kings, all I pray for is a benevolent King overlooking the affairs of national sovereignty, security and welfare ( Kidu ) of all Bhutanese; a government that continues the development works and provide sustainable employment needs of the disengaged youth populace and; a continuous very friendly relation with India and a fruitful bilateral or multilateral co-operations with other nations including China.

There is no denying that Your Excellency, even as a member of opposition party or as an Ambassador of GNH a title conferred upon you or as a private citizen, does enjoy both national and international credentials. Please do not give up for whatever reasons but rather try harder to promote the interest of Tsa-wa-Sum. And as time passes by and present molten of political acrimonies cool off, please humbly and sincerely do all you can humanly possible, to clear any and all misunderstanding or deemed breach of Thadamtsi that seemed to have occurred, not necessarily with intent of plan but most possibly in the trial and error of seeking a way of balanced democratic governance in between the authority of the King and the aspirations of the people.

We need a stable and secure sovereign Kingdom for our children, grandchildren and their children and so on. A sovereign King need happy subjects and people need a just Monarch and reliable government under whatever nomenclature of systems. Therefore in the ultimate interest of generations of Bhutanese to come, all of us high, middle, low and young and old alike must find positive strength to build constructive and progressive society. This vision of one nation and one people must be our most vital constant political culture.
In the serenity of our beautiful natural landscapes, in the flutter of prayer flags, the pureness of tolerance in temples and mandirs and smiles of our innocent younger generations, I pray that all Bhutanese from farmers to monks, students to philosophers, civil servants to political leaders, traders and industrialists, royal and holy members and above all His Holiness the Je Khenpo and their Majesties the Kings and Queens of Bhutan find faith, solace and trust in our own goodness and in the goodness of the Kingdom as a nation for all Bhutanese.

Let us all find the moral strength and spiritual faith in the workings of the Pelden Drukpai Chhochong and Ka-sung. Pelden Drukpai Lha Gyelo!

I wish Your Excellency and your family happiness, peace and joyful hope. Respectfully Wangcha Sangey.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A letter to DPT Party and President.

Dear DPT and 1st Democratic Prime Minister of Bhutan.

It seems the Political dust is gradually settling down. The DPT members have expressed their election process grievances and 15 such points have been submitted to the King. The DNT (Nyamrup) has also held its meeting probably to put pressure on the PDP President and Prime Minister elect for Cabinet berths of the DNT winning candidates. That’s fair and square in politics of democracy.

The DPT of-course is in the opposition and will have to fill the opposition bench in the Parliament. But now who is the opposition leader in the parliament? DPT lost the Election by the will of the people? by superior strategies of  PDP? by providence? or what so ever other reasons? I think the election defeat is enough to awaken DPT to political realities. There is no need to commit further blunder.

What is really wrong with the likes of your Excellency and His Excellency Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup nurtured and elevated by the King? One defeat overwhelms you. One did not want to remain as President of PDP and the other does not want to be the opposition leader in the parliament. For DPT members and its executive council, don’t you think that your President should shoulder the party’s opposition leadership in the Parliament? There is no need to groom Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho . The way I see, he is quite well groomed already. However, it could be in the Party’s present and long term interest to appoint him as the opposition spokesperson in the Parliament because his age and temperament matches that of the Prime Minister elect.            With respects Wangcha Sangey

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Analysis of Events from Gyalpoizhing through General Election to intervention by India

Gyalpoizhing Land Case - Gyalpoizhing literally means field of the King but legally it has become a hot bed of troubles and expose of fringe benefiters as proven by court verdicts.

I feel more for the families of the 11 civil servants and for their sake my unsolicited advice to the 11 who got entrapped in the melee, make a sincere appeal to His Majesty the King. Do not seek overturn of verdict and do not maintain you had no choice. You had choice but more courage and sacrifice would have been necessary to decline to be a committee member or oppose the Chairman. The bureaucratic or political environment then and even now is not sufficiently conducive for a subordinate officer to exercise expression of individual point of view to impact a decision of an Agency or Committee. Therefore what had taken place would have occurred regardless of who the committee members were as long as the chairman wanted it to happen. In-fact this no-win-situation should have been the thrust of their defense lawyer’s submission to the courts and this fact should have been dearly weighed in by the different level of Courts. It was absolutely necessary for the Judiciary to examine the actual relevance of any kind of committee members in arriving at a decision that a chairman is bent on producing especially when the members are his juniors whose official welfare are in his hand. Committee members whose roles were irrelevant in the sense that they were not at an equal level playing field with their boss, cannot be held responsible in the same light as their chairman for the irregular decisions that were made in the name of a committee which in substance was very much a domain of the Chairman.

I feel a compulsory retirement from civil service with due retirement benefits would have met both the standards of legal and social sense of Justice for the 11 civil servants. It may be too late to make legal appeal because everything stops at Supreme Court level (can SC amend decision within 10 days?). However, there is recourse for compassion and sufficient ground for kidu consideration for conversion of termination from civil service to compulsory retirement by His Majesty the King.

I hope the 11 civil servants and especially the family members receive a royal reprieve in the form of compulsory retirement.

Thank you Supreme Court for ACC upliftment - Kuensel referred to it as guidelines but ever the long-term conscious person, I view the directives of Supreme Court on ACC suspension powers as an image upliftment of ACC. In Democracy, no agency especially Constitutional Agencies should behave in draconian manner and exercise unilateral decision. A Constitution that provides the foundation of democracy cannot also be the source of authoritarian power of any other institutions.

Regardless of the methods used, I do appreciate the intent of ACC to defeat corruption or at least hold accountable some of those who deviate from official or acceptable way of administering or exercising due diligence in upholding responsibilities. But if ACC could do their job in less authoritarian ways, it will have positive impact for the King who appoints the commissioners, for the Agency that houses the commissioners and for those officers and staffs who assist the commissioners.

Constitutional Bodies of any kind be they ACC, ECB, RAA etc. do not exist to terrorize the system of governance or the society at large. They are quasi-legal independent agencies with specific responsibilities to curb or discourage misuse of national wealth and power or official positions so that ultimately harmony of co-existence and equal sense of fairness can prevail among various components that constitute a nation of good governance and happy people under the constitutional institution of Monarchy.

The Nation is evolving and it seems the highest authority on law interpretation is endeavouring to grapple with demands of changing times and modes of democratic conduct.

Bhutan Politics after General Election - The media is laced with allegations by DPT about the General Election being, “unfair, farce and sham”. Whatever it is or was, it is over now and the nation must move to whatever direction or any kind of direction. It cannot stand still.

PDP Victory - My own view is that the result of 32 versus 15 cannot be all about money, power, internal or external threats. It would be naive to rule out that central game changer had to do with the will of the majority. The number of successful candidates could have varied but PDP would still be the Ruling Party. No other conclusion adds up.

Omen for PDP and DPT - DPT got singed quite badly; in-fact as badly as PDP got scorched in 2008. But like PDP in 2008, the signs do indicate good future prospects for DPT as it did for PDP in 2008.

In 2008, as sorry as I felt for Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup personally, I felt PDP was destined to have a political future because it had secured foot-holds in the two historic Dzongkhags that played pivotal political roles in the past. Gasa is the Dzongkhag through which the deeply venerated Tibetan high Lama of Ralung Monastery entered Bhutan after fleeing Tibet. His Holiness is known as Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the Dharma Raja of Bhutan credited with the unification of various regional chieftains within one central rule. Haa is the Dzongkhag which is famous for the Black and White Temples (Lhakhang KaNa Gni), three hills of Miri Phuensum (Risum Goem) and Political deity Ap Chhundu. Through the grace and blessings of the three Celestial Authorities, Haaps dominated both political and religious scenes of Bhutan for many decades.

I shared these personal perceptions with friends after 2008 General Election and during Primary Election of 2013.  Along with DPT, I was sure it would be PDP that would make it to the General Election.  That Nyamrup and PDP would merge after Primary Election was a foregone conclusion for quite a few political watchers but most thought that it would be the other way around PDP merging with successful Nyamrup. This merger is most troubling to both political watchers and ECB.

I did not think that PDP would be able to win the General Election of 2013 though after the near miraculous rise of Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay as PDP president in 2008, I felt he would someday become the Prime Minister. I, however, could not help sensing the two warning signals indicative of possibilities that against all odds, DPT may miss its tryst with destiny to govern the second time.

1.       The first was the granting of mining license for Dragong in Haa by DPT Government when it was nearing the end of 5 years term and about to face the 2nd Election. In Haa, we offer prayers, butter lamps and incense smoke to the three Celestial Authorities whenever we embark on personal, dzongkhag or national ventures. DPT Government offered insults, dust, explosives and destruction. (Underground mining? Where is the Underground Mining Act? Haaps may be suckers but Celestial Authorities impossible to dub).

Not by design or intent but by coincidence of birth responsibility and root (Dragong is the backbone of my village and central edifice of Haa dzongkhag countenance), I ended up leading the protests against this horrendous act of sacrilege by DPT. And in the process, it was necessary for me to submit to the three Celestial Authorities that they had better watch out for themselves because in my humble position, bereft of political or fiscal clouts, I could only provide the human face to the celestial protest.

2.       The second warning sign was the cabinet walking off with pradoes and office equipments. O.K almost every high official who warrant a pardo for official duty eventually tried to walk off with it, if possible, as solrey if not buy it at a substantially reduced payment. Then the mobile phone and laptop, maybe, on reasons of confidentially, it makes judicious sense to maintain ownerships of the same. But what about photocopy machines, fax machines etc.? Well, you rape if you do not intend to marry and you ransack an office when you do not believe in re-occupying it. 
To a Buddhist me, those two acts of DPT Cabinet were most disturbing and tale telling about their possible future. By the way, I am no institutional Buddhist. What I know about Buddha can be outpoured in few minutes but my faith in the Dharma is immense and therefore by nature I give due regards to signs that intrigue comprehension.       

My summary of DPT debacle is that PDP may have been the secondary obstacle but the primary obstacle could have been DPT itself. However, the loss could be a strategic defeat because minus the Speaker Lyonpo Jigme Tsultrim, DPT is back to its 2008 prior election status. The core group of DPT is intact and if the psychological impairment from the unexpected debacle is repealed, 5 years is not that long to endure out. My personal sadness is that Lyonchen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley will never be at the helm of government again even if DPT bounces back later. The constitution bars anyone above the age of 65 from vying for political post. In hindsight and because so much criticism is laid in public, his way of national governance may have differed from the thoughts of His Majesty the King. However, if he had been truly honest with his love of the Kingdom then I feel, whatever clouds of misunderstanding presently exist, these would gradually clear away and by the grace of Palden Drupai Chhochhong and Ka Sung, one way or another, the three times most popularly elected Prime Minister of Bhutan, will continue to have a leadership role in the service of Tsawa Sum. For sake of posterity, it is necessity to record that in-spite of real or imagined short falls; he did gallantly serve the Bhutanese Tsawa Sum and achieved international stature to the extent that world leaders were pleased to be standing with him on the same podium.

Personal declaration -It is not in me to harbor any ill will towards political parties nor be intimidated. They are answering the call of democracy. Moreover I feel that regardless of which party comes to power, apart from general effect of development or policies, there will be no direct impact on most Bhutanese life including mine. The outcome of democratic election does have direct impact on the positions of the candidates and the personal welfare of their close supporters and financers. However, for all the rest, there is no perceptible difference between governance by Monarchy and elected party.

In the primary round, I voted for DPT because as a Haap, I am grateful for the Prime Minister’s effort in building up confidence in Sino-Bhutan relation (but India had always been a unanimous national priority though now, I for one am shocked into reality of India’s political design). I did not go to Haa for General Election voting for two reasons: (1) It would be uncomfortable to choose between two Haaps, one of my own generation and the other the generation of my children and oft the touted hope of the future. (2) A celestial decision that somehow maneuvered the nuptial day of my son and daughter-in-law to Thursday the 11th of July and for reasons of preserving chha and yang, I the head of the family could not move away from our Thimphu home for three days. As it turned out, one vote could not make any difference to either of the candidates in Haa and on the other hand, we enjoyed a blissful marriage in privacy for three memorable days – a good omen by all accounts.

India and Bhutan - I am bursting with emotion to pen my thoughts on the shameless and bizarre intervention of the present government of India (not people of India) into the General Election of Bhutan. But I need to give time for internal political dust to settle and moreover, I need to be prepared to be as remorseless and as heartless as the Ambassador of India to Bhutan. Unlike him, I have not led a diplomatic career that conditions one to excel in stating the most horrendous declarations, in the most sober manner adorned with publicly palatable smile. And more urgently, I need time to keep praying for the country and us the people now that this Indian Government has decided to completely entrap Bhutan in the web of India whirlpool.

I do not claim to have observed closely the former Ambassador but somehow this Ambassador is totally a different personality from his predecessor. Anyone who did not understand the English language would have been suitability impressed by the facial expression and friendly behavior of the Ambassador during the BBS TV interview. But when you take in the words he so casually declares, one realizes that we have an Indian Ambassador on a British nurtured diplomatic mission - divide and conquer. As a student of history, I always respected and gave due deference to be the devilish English men for the political mastery of the whole world and colonization of America, Australia, India and others by an island nation that initially comprised of only England. And like wise, one must give kudos to an Excellency for par excellent diplomatic coup. The Deities of Palden Drukpa need to be extra vigilant till 2014 when political dynamos at New Delhi may hopefully undergo a change of heart if not an overhaul of complete strategy. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bhutan’s Democracy- the Second Foray

In 2008, from the ashes of PDP, arose MP Tshering Tobgay as PDP President and yesterday 13th July, 2013, Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay torched DPT Party with flame India and installed PDP in the saddle of governance. It looks like he is destined to possess the qualities of a Phoenix.

There are many reasons for DPT defeat and many reasons for PDP victory. However, what stood out was PDP President’s political insight into the mind of the voters. He offered what they could grasp (tangible benefits) and alluded to their worst fears such as supposed grave dangers to the Institution of Monarchy and Indo-Bhutan friendship. I presume that the allusions are in the nature of election rhetoric.

Personally, I attributed PDP debacle in 2008 to its mid-way hesitation and change of gear. Likewise this time I attribute DPT’s poor performance in its mid-way fractured campaign and change of tempo. However, as always, I believe all events of greater national significance are guided by the Deities of the Kingdom and I pray that the nation continues to find peace and stability within the confines of limited sovereignty of a small, landlocked and economically weak nation.

I admire all those candidates of both Primary and General Elections and those involved in forming the five Political Parties. It takes a lot of sweat, strain and stamina to embark what they journeyed into.

I whole heartedly congratulate Prime Minister elect Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay for single handedly earning his Party’s mandate to govern and I also whole heartedly thank Lyonchhen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley the 1st Prime Minister of Democratic Bhutan for the statesmanship and political courage he displayed in forging a better state of relationship with other countries particularly China and successfully steering the 1st democratic government.

There is no doubt that Bhutan’s corner stone foreign policy was, is and will be strong friendship with India. And Bhutan and Bhutanese Governments including the last one have been faithful to this national political dogma. I, however, hope and pray that Bhutan’s principal and central foreign or national policy would be strengthening national sovereignty and living in peace with both China and India whilst forging better social and economic life for our people. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Ray of absolute truth pierces through dark political fog

In Kuensel issue of 8th July, 2013, His Majesty appointed Interim Government (IG) Advisor to the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan has refuted  the assertions made by His Majesty appointed IG Advisor Dasho Karma Ura in the Kuensel issue of 6th July, 2013 confirming the:

I.        “Withdrawal of Chukha tariff” supposed subsidy by Government of India
II.      “Withdrawal of exercise duty refund” by Government of India

Dasho Chhewang Rinzin has refuted most unambiguously these assertions though the language was necessarily polite from one advisor to another advisor appointed by the same authority.

I.        That “the power purchase agreement with the Power Trading Corporation of India for Chukha Power does not have any component built into INR 2 a unit tariff.”
II.      That “In fact, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been in touch with the GoI for an upward revision of the Chukha power tariff from the present INR 2 per unit for some time now and the Ministry hopes for a positive outcome of the consultations.”
III.    The IG Advisor to Economic Affairs also clarified that, “the refund of exercise duty is governed by 2006 Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between governments of Bhutan and India, which expires in 2016” only.

In an election time, I feel it is perfectly alright to call for removal of a politician from a political post or prevent regaining the same. In fact, in a democracy, such calls are made at all times between Parties, within Parties and between Governments and people, not just during election time. In an extreme case, a security guard of Shrimati Indira Gandhi even assassinated her because he did not like her. So Bhutanese political watchers and voters have to be prepared for possibly undreamed of political vendettas. However, pawning sovereign national interests just for the hope to dislodge or with the objective to be vindictive against the person of JYT or DPT as a political entity are self-defeating. Deliberately scheming to provoke or induce India to revise the Chukha power tariff downwards as opposed to upward revision requested by RGoB and withdraw future exercise duty refund as opposed to successive yearly attempts by Bhutan Revenue and Custom Delegations to retrieve a fairer share of exercise duty refund entitlements from India, is not going to hurt the fiscal life of JYT or the other 46 DPT candidates. The real victim will be the Kingdom of Bhutan and the people of Bhutan.

No true Bhutanese citizen, political party or appointed authority should publicly or privately make overtures to either India or China or any other outside power to adversely intervene into our internal politics or election to get rid of one political party this time and another party the next time.

We can pretend that we just forgot a vital fact. But it does not change the fact that in 2004, the King of Bhutan His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck went to New Delhi to personally negotiate the Chukha power tariff of INR 2 per unit. It was reported to be an increase of INR 0.50 per unit not 0.45 but exact figure is not the issue here. The crux of the issue is that the King of Bhutan got the Chukha tariff revised to INR 2 per unit. Please recall that the salaries of civil servants got handsomely increased only after the King was able to personally negotiate the Chukha power tariff to INR 2 per unit.

Now if ( a big if ) Government of India down revises the same tariff to INR 1.55 or 1.50 per unit of Chukha power, then the very act of renegading on a commitment reached with a King is an insult to the Kingdom of Bhutan. The same King is not on the Throne but his son, the hereditary successor, is now on the Throne. And a King deserving the Kingdom (if he did not deserve the Throne, he would not have been born the eldest prince in the house of Wangchuck Dynasty) must be prepared to defend the honour of the Kingdom and the dignity of the Throne.

I am actually, to say the least, quite fed up and disgusted with ongoing politics of personal vendetta nature among political personalities and also other personalities. I really wish 13th July, 2013 had happened a long time back. If anyone agrees with me, please raise your hands and acclaim, “Lha-Gyal-Lo!” (May Goodness Triumph). The positive synergy so accumulated through collective good wishes will bring blessings to all of us. Good-bye to General Election of 2013. Come what derisive schemes plotters and counter plotters may bring forth, let Palden Drukpa always remain in good Health!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Game of TIT for TAT – Grant versus Power rate

Dasho Karma Ura’s article titled ‘Four Subsidy Cuts’ in Kuensel 6th July, 2013 does reveal albeit indirectly how and why the subsidy grants on gas, kerosene etc. have been withdrawn by India.

He says Chukha power export rate to India is Nu: 1.55 per unit excluding Nu: 0.45 subsidy grant per unit. He does not talk of rates from other Projects like Tala, Basochu, Kurichu, so maybe only Chukha rate is up for re-negotiation with India this time around. And Bhutan under Interim Government had publicly declared the new proposed power rate in Bhutan from 1st July, 2013 to be Nu: 4 per unit (not yet finalized). This means minimum re-negotiation export power rate would be Nu: 4 per unit, a jump of Nu: 2.45 per unit that India has to pay. The additional income from enhanced power export rate from Chukha would be more than Rupees 4 billion which more than actually covers the amount of subsidy grants withdrawn by India. This is in line with Dasho Karma Ura’s statement to quote, “Interim Government is not implicated as the cause of the withdrawal of subsidies. Nothing could be far from truth.”

India has in the past reduced its subsidies or grants in proportion to Bhutanese income increase from hydro power export. Thus choosing 1st July, 2013 to withdraw the subsidy grants coincides with the previous public declaration of Interim Government to raise power rate to Nu: 4 per unit effective from 1st July, 2013. Therefore the timing of the withdrawal of the subsidy grants does not indicate any change in the existing political statuesque between the two countries.  

After all the speculations of heavy politics, it seems there is no as such specific political intent involved in the withdrawal of subsidy grants by India. It was a standard economic tit for tat sparring between grants from India versus power export rate from Bhutan. Maybe the External Affairs of India would be informing the Interim Government of Bhutan that Indian subsidies or grants on gas, kerosene etc. would be re-introduced until the proposed power rate is effected from the Bhutanese side. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Are Bhutanese not ready or over-ready for Democracy?

PDP and Supporters- The President of PDP is spearheading an election campaign to push Bhutan deeper into the political fold of India.

1. PDP is adamant that Bhutan’s sovereignty excludes any foreign policy that is not approved by India-such as the meeting between Bhutanese Prime Minister and Chinese Premier at Rio de Janeiro last year.

2. PDP declares that if Bhutan does not appease India in matters of its foreign policy then India will not provide fund for 5 years plans (citing 11th 5 Year Plan fund status) and will withdraw subsidy grant (citing increase in cooking gas price).

The fact is no donor countries including India have made firm commitment for 11th 5 Year Plan as yet because we do not have an elected government in place and moreover we do not as yet have a finalized 11th 5 Year Plan. India will provide assistance to Bhutan no matter which Party governs Bhutan. Indo-Bhutan friendship and co-operation is not based on Jigmi Yoezer Thinley or Tshering Tobgay. It has been developed by the Gandhi and Wangchuck leaderships and the friendship is founded on geo-political facts and mutual respect necessities.

The withdrawal of subsidy on gas could have been triggered by economic changes taking place in India. However, the gas price for the common people of India has not been raised although there is a quota limit for Indian families. Therefore, I feel that the government of India will consider positively the request made by the Chief Advisor of Bhutan’s Interim Government to the External Affairs of India. The Prime Minister of India knows that the Chief Advisor represents the King of Bhutan and India in the past has never spurned a reasonable and determined request of the Kings of Bhutan.

DPT and Supporters – on the other hand the President of DPT is reported to have returned to Thimphu with other senior leaders to review seriously the PDP accusation of DPT supposedly having strained relations between Bhutan and India and come up with a Party decision that would be in the interest of the Kings, the Country and the People. Some may view this as a political blackmail. I view it as an over-reaction that could further undermine democratic process. And DPT which was installed as the 1st ruling party by a historic over-whelming majority of Bhutanese voters does not have any moral right to topple democratic hopes of the voters. DPT must continue participation in the election process even if it is of the belief that the process is flawed and prejudiced against it.

It is also necessary to hope that PDP will refrain from being totally India hawkers and thereby compromising the legitimate sovereign right of Bhutan and Bhutanese citizens. The 4th King invested monumental efforts to re-negotiate the 1949 Indo-Bhutan Treaty in order for Bhutan to gain legitimate sovereignty in its foreign affairs. And the 5th King as Trongsa Penlop signed the re-negotiated Treaty on behalf of Bhutan and this I believe, is a historic gesture of Wangchuck dynasty’s commitment to Bhutan’s sovereignty in both external and internal affairs. The Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley’s friendly overture to China is in line with the Kings of Bhutan’s respect for China’s might and its impact to Bhutan’s sovereignty as well as adhering to the existing Sino-Bhutan Border Treaty that emphasizes on mutual respect and friendship between China and Bhutan.

If there is any perceived difference in the King’s way and the Prime Minister’s way regarding Sino-Bhutan relations, it must be pace and timing. The King of Bhutan has 32 years more (till the age of 65 years) to make his foot prints in history whilst the Prime Minister had only 5 years and if he gets a final 2nd term, then 10 years. So it’s time factor not fundamental difference.

I have likened PDP’s headlong campaign to reduce Bhutan to a “Protective State” of India to that of Kazi Lhendup Dorjee’s role (to quote the Prime Minister of India) “Shri Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa played a historic role as the architect of Sikkim’s accession to the Indian Union”.

Bhutan is a sovereign state. Therefore, no Bhutanese Political Party should be insisting that Bhutanese political leadership must remain a slave to New Delhi’s command.  Tshering Tobgay may believe that the Bhutanese Prime Minister should have sought appointment with Chinese Premier through the Office of the Prime Minister of India. However, even though he has been Opposition Leader for 5 years, Tshering Tobgay has no experience in national governance nor does he possess the slightest trait of the art of silent politics mastered by the Kings of Bhutan especially in the field of foreign affairs. Therefore, his opinion may very much be a very narrow personal politics which unfortunately may harm Bhutan’s status as a sovereign nation and a friendly neighbour to both India and China.

 The 1st democratic Prime Minister of Bhutan is being constantly and publicly accused of sabotaging the Indo-Bhutan friendship which had been carefully nurtured over so many years by the Kings of Bhutan. He is also accused of attempting to usurp the prerogatives of His Majesty the King. Such accusations if proved to be true, tantamount to acts of treason against Bhutan and the Institution of Monarchy. And if not true then the accuser is guilty of similar act of treason. His Majesty the King is the constitutional guardian of national peace and stability and therefore must act to guard the people and the kingdom from acts of treason.

The fact that His Majesty the King has made no public comment till now can never be construed that royal thoughts lies this way or that way. Both the political parties are of Bhutanese origin and the members are subjects of His Majesty the King. Somewhere down the line, it is hoped that a statesmanship is revealed to steer the young democracy to rightful path. As important as foreign relation is, it would be a grave mistake for Bhutan to adopt relation with China or India as the main crux of the General Election of Bhutan. If we tempt our giant neighbours to intervene in our election process, our democracy would be our national doom.  

In expressing my thoughts aloud in public, do not assume that I am fearless. I always have deep fears but I try to overcome such haunting depressions in my sincere belief that facts may awaken those that have the authority to save Bhutan and we the common Bhutanese. The rich and the elites will do O.K whether as subjects of King of Bhutan or as citizens of Indian President.

Please do not assume I do not like Tshering Tobgay. I am a senior Haap and by the virtue of my origin I cannot dislike a fellow Haap. Please do not assume I blindly support JYT’s China Policy. Whilst Jigmi Y Thinley was in college, I was learning the realities of Sino-Bhutan-Indo relations from His Majesty the 3rd King of Bhutan. I am also a royalist because like many other Bhutanese I too understand the gravitational role that the Wangchuck Dynasty upholds for the stability and security of Bhutan.