Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Doklam Standoff between China and India is more complex that what is made to appear.

The public may be under the impression that Indian soldiers are still at Doklam side claimed by China. That cannot be true.  Indian soldiers had gone into the disputed area between China and Bhutan upon which India has no claim of her own.  However, it is apparent that the Indian soldiers were pushed back and subsequently Chinese soldiers had entered the Indian line on Sikkim side and even destroyed few border post make do shelter of the Indian Army. So now both must be at their original post albeit with additional re- inforcement.

The video footages in fb of Chinese and Indian soldiers confronting each other are of different times and at different place , not at Doklam. The Indian Army has been very tight lipped about the present Doklam incident. Therefore, there is no chance of them sharing video footages.  

In the year 2012,  India and China had agreed not to interfere into border issues that India or China may have with  Bhutan or Burma ( Myanmar) at tri-junction boundaries.  And on that basis, the Border Agreement between Indian Sikkim and Chinese Tibet was finalised. It seems that both the Doklam status of China and the  Nathu La Trade Route Opening were part of several  overall understandings reached between India and China. Also during the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks, the Chinese position on Doklam Plateau was very clear and firm from the very beginning. Bhutan understood the  Chinese claim regarding Doklam.

This time at Doklam, India had breached that Bilateral Agreement and understandings between China and India when Indian soldiers  transgressed into Doklam. And now in retaliation, China is  abrogating that Agreement and demanding that Indian Army withdraw back from its existing position at Sikkim -Tibet border. China is insisting upon re-negotiating the Tibet- Sikkim border.

India had not expected such a strong reaction from China. And caught flat footed, tried to wriggle out of the tight corner by saying that Indian Army entered Doklam at the request of Bhutan Army. In other words declaring that Bhutan is a " Protectorate " of India. And projecting a international posture of India protecting  tiny Bhutan from a big bully China.

Bhutan naturally cannot support such blatantly invasive contention of India. Bhutan is a sovereign nation and member of UN. Not a "  Protectorate " of India.   And anyway China is not buying any such blabbering from India.

It appears that an overzealous Defence Ministry of India ordered the Indian Army intrusion into Doklam area. Maybe it was one strategy aimed at foiling Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement happening during the next Ministerial level Sino- Bhutan Border Meeting. It could also be an internal strategy of Defence Ministry officials to push through lucrative Defence Purchase Deals through hyping Sino- Indian conflicts at sensitive border points. Defence Deals worth billions of dollars could result in huge dividends for those making the Deals. And any sign of heightened tensions with China or Pakistan could hrlp to seal big defence related procurement Deals. 

Whatever the reasons may have been for the unprecedented transgression at Doklam, the Indian war hawks  had not  envisaged such a huge fallout upon the Sikkim -Tibet Border Agreement and the Kashmir conflict.  India had already breached part of understandings with China by playing up the Dalai Lama card at Arunachal. And Doklam intrusion sort of broke the camel back. Since the departure of the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to take up the post of Goa Chief Ministership, the Defence Ministry of India under Shri Arun Jaitley has been embarking upon a new defiant policy against China.

It is also quite clear that Indian Army Command was against such a confrontational move at Doklam.  But had followed the order issued by the Defence Ministry. The fallout from the foul up by the Defence Ministry has compelled Modi Cabinet to trim away Defence Ministry bureaucratic  powers and transfer the same to the Indian Army Command. Recently the strategic and defence powers including armament procurement authority of both the Chief and Deputy Chief of Indian Army have been considerably enhanced.  India may also find it necessary to appoint a full time new Defence Minister. Presently Shri Arun Jaitley is holding double portfolios of Finance and Defence Ministries. And that may have lead to war hawks at Defence Ministry taking over.   

India could be prepared to fight 2 and 1/2 wars at the same time. But this is turning out to be 5 and 1/2 wars. Chicken Neck, Arunachal,  Kashmir, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea plus that 1/2 meaning internal security. And America, Japan and Israel cannot be trusted to fight from Indian side against China in case of war. Going against three nuclear nations China, Pakistan and North Korea for sake of Indian interest alone is not sufficiently tempting for United States. And in any case, other world powers would love to see India and China bleed each other as they look upon from afar.  What America and other nations dread is the two Asian powers teaming up.

China was fully aware of behind the scene Indian pressures upon Bhutan in  Sino- Bhutan Border negotiations throughout the last 34 years and 24 rounds of Talks. But China could not take punitive action until India directly and openly showed her hand. And this time at Doklam, India unmasked herself. That was what China was waiting for. 

Now I think an Indian advance peace team is already in Beijing to be joined by Indian Security Advisor later. India is adopting a conciliatory approach to save the 2012 Sikkim- Tibet Border Agreement. The Indian Diplomat and Security Analyst Phunchuk Stobdan who recently authored the article  " India's Real Problem lies in its Foreign Policy, Not Border "  seems to be  also a member of the Indian advance team at Beijing. His article is a sign of conciliatory gesture from the Government of India.

The Doklam standoff crisis may dissipate  if India truly backs off from Sino- Bhutan Border negotiation and in other areas like opposing One Belt Road Initiative and stop playing up Dalai Lama card.  I hope all goes well between our giant neighbours. War is terrible for all of us.

There is no written security pact as such between India and Bhutan or Bhutan with China. However, if Bhutan is invaded by either India or China, one could rightly assume that the other giant neighbour will get involved because of their respective concerns for national security. For both India and China, Bhutan’s buffer status is very crucial and non- negotiable.  As of date,  Bhutan has a 2007 Treaty ( revised 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty)  with India which recognises each other' s sovereignty and declaration of friendship.  Likewise Bhutan has an Agreement with China which also spelts out respect for each country's sovereignty and declaration of friendship. 

In regards to Doklam crisis, I would  like to reiterate that I have always had tremendous faith in the working of the Deities. And I hopefully pray that what happened at Doklam this time is a way of the Deities to clear the path for  Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement. There is always a possibility of a silver lining to every dark cloud. I dare to be optimistic as well as forthright.

May Triple Gem watch over the Kingdom and guide our Leaders. Pelden Drukpa Gyel Lo ! Lha Gyel Lo !

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Truth of India and Bhutan Relationship versus China equation.

A lot of interest shown by Bhutanese fb friends in the article in fb post  " India's Real Problem lies in its Foreign Policy, Not Border".

It was authored and posted on 14th July, 2017 by Professor Phunchuk Stobdan a foreign policy expert of India.

( A brief about the author courtesy Google). Ambassador (Prof.) P. Stobdan is a distinguished academician, diplomat, author and foreign policy expert. He has been India’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan until recently. Ambassador Stobdan has earlier served in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). He also served as Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Jammu & Kashmir. He is the Founding President of the Ladakh International Centre, Leh. Ambassador Stobdan is currently Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the United Services Institution (USI). Ambassador P. Stobdan is a leading columnist for Indian Express and other national dailies in India.

I thought it may serve Indo- Bhutan equal interest to share my own perspectives. So I sent an email to the  distinguished author and hopefully through him other Indian Experts and Analysts will be aware.

pstobdan@gmail.com       14th July, 2017

Sub; " India's Real Problem lies in its Foreign Policy, Not Borders "

Dear Sir,

I went through your feeling and views. You are a sincere well wisher of Indo-Bhutan friendship. Hopefully there is room for such understanding and accommodation in the power halls of New Delhi.

I could never fathom why Indian leaders and advisors still suffer from the subjugated trance of British Raj Era ? In almost all dealing with her dependant neighbours especially the two landlocked, India is not satisfied with " Namas-te" greetings. One is required to bow from kneeling position. A copycat attitude of British Raj to Indians.

I suppose you realise that if the push comes to shove as they say,  it is not possible for India to takeover Bhutan without China claiming over half the Kingdom. It's a touch and go situation. Presently Bhutan's status as a buffer nation actually guarantees the security of the oft quoted "chicken neck " of India and her North Eastern Frontier States.  A divided Bhutan can place the whole of Northern India in peril.

However, if India does not obstruct/ hinder Sino Bhutan Border Agreement, this will guarantee the security of all of Northern India. It is therefore,  actually in India's interest to encourage Bhutan to sign the Border Agreement with China. Instead the successive Indian leaders have taken out their British Raj era humiliation upon the only nation and people that they can safely bully. To allow Bhutan to sign Agreement and have relation with China is elevating the national status of Bhutan and Bhutanese people which Indian cannot stomach. It seems that the Indian ego which is so badly bruised under Whitemen subjugation, cannot accept Bhutan as an equal neighbour. Thus it is not Indian national security priority nor the fear of Chinese invasion or competition that prevents India from giving Bhutan the go-ahead to friendlier ties with China. It is the psycological burden of accepting Bhutan as an equal neighbour that haunts the false Indian elitist pride. 

I suppose Indian experts are well aware that what was once part of Bhutan like the Duars and Doklam was wrested away by British India. Doklam may have been originally that of Tibet before Bhutan took over. At one time in Bhutanese history, Bhutan had land in Ladakh , Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim and in north eastern India the Duars. But British India changed all that.  Bhutan was given a yearly cash annuity for the 18 Duars as the tax collected from those domains was important revenue for Bhutanese heiracy. The other domains  had more to do with religious purpose than revenue. So probably these were simply written off.  Anyway British India sold  Doklam back to China.

Bhutan cannot get back the Duars or Doklam or the other religious domain in Nepal, Sikkim or Ladakh.  In the revised 2007 Indo-Bhutan Treaty that " annuity clause " regarding the 18 Duars  was taken off and so was the clause " foreign affairs to be guided by India". In other words an exchange was concluded though never highlighted or publicly stated for claim against Duars in exchange for freedom in exercising foreign affairs by Bhutan.   

Can you imagine what such an  "annuity clause " be worth to a mighty nation in the modern era when everybody is claiming something off another?  That may be the reason why India removed it when Bhutan insisted upon self auhority in foreign affairs as a member of UN. You may be aware that India did not willingly back Bhutan's admission to UN. India had no choice when she realised that King Jigme Dorji Wangchcuck was prepared to go broke on that score. 

Bhutan is too small and weak to assert her historical domination and have wisely chosen peace and sovereignty within the physical space that we have as of date. We have no alternative but to choose peace and friendship with India. Likewise we have no alternative but to forget Doklam as we have foregone the Duars and other religious domains and sign the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement so that what we have now remain ours for eternity. 

There is much affection and respect for India within the larger Bhutanese community. However, there is resentment and fear, too, as you pointed out. I do not know what secret magical  hold India has over the Wangchuck Dynasty but whatever it is, that is wearing rather thin. I feel Bhutanese can accept and live with their King no matter what India may say or reveal about our deeply respected Dynasty.

Democracy has been introduced by the King and the process cannot be halted. And with democracy comes more free thinking and more questions that can be uncomfortable to answer. And as amenable as the last two Kings have been with Indian approach to Bhutan, 34 years and 24 rounds of delay tactics in negotiations with China in compliance to never ending dictates of India upon Bhutan, can wear out the utmost patience of China with Bhutan and that of Wangchuck Dynasty of Bhutan with Indian leadership. Afterall their Majesties are the true son and grandson of the King who once declared, " would rule as a sovereign King or not at all ". And probably the people of Bhutan ,too, would be exhausted in search for a chance for dignified peaceful existence. And take matters off everyone's table. 

I feel for sake of durable genuine love and frienship between the people of India and Bhutan, India should wisely and generously permit Bhutan with adequate leeway in signing the Border Agreement and have diplomatic and trade relations with China. This will not change fundamental basis of Indo Bhutan friendship and reliability. It will only enhance the political status of Bhutan as a more strengthened Sovereign Buffer State and enable a less stressful China and India relationship.

May there be more such thinkers like you and may Indo- Bhutan friendship reach a healthy level of equal love and respect. 

I wish you well Sir. 

Sincerely

Wangcha Sangey

Bhutanese Auto Dealers, Ministry of Finance and GST effect.

Business has ups and downs. And Ministry of Finance should not be protecting Auto Dealers from the GST consequences. If auto prices go down let the customer benefit in full. When prices go up, the Auto Dealers make the customers take the fall.  It is wrong to allow Auto Dealers to fix a price to recoup losses on cars in stock due to GST application.  In that way, future customers will be paying higher cost always because greed has no bound.

However if Government wants to work out a way to compensate for its own loss of income from  usual  exercise refund on all goods then that is understandable.

It is high time that Government put in place a transparent pricing structure of products like cars sold by restricted number of General Dealers. Dealers must have profit but prices of products sold on Monopoly Basis , must be controlled and made transparent by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Affairs through their respective Executive  Agencies. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dear concerned journalists of Doklam conflict.

I do not engage in fostering media hype of a situation. For this reason I do not accept  interview requests or answer questions sent to me that are out of the context of my article. But I am ready to sit down with any reaaonable entity and at appropriate place in regards to the content of my article. I can defend what I wrote. However, please do not ask me to guess how all Bhutanese think or who likes or dislikes whom and what is to happen, hereafter, to Doklam and Bhutan and consequences with her neighbours. I was and am only interested in clearing air about Royal Bhutan Army alleged role in the Doklam standoff between India and China.

For many media houses and journalists, the objective could be to create more controversies and thereby more news rather than reveal just facts.  My article on Doklam dealt with one fact. That was that Royal Bhutan Army would not have asked Indian Army to intervene. And I provided substantive reasons backed by past events to base my stand. Simple. Not supporting India or China. And not questioning any relationships. Just demonstrating that the reason for Indian Army entering Doklam a disputed area between China and Bhutan cannot be attributed to Royal Bhutan Army.

And to a degree the article was validated.  Since then Indian sources have stopped playing up that Bhutan Army angle and stuck to Indian security concerns. And Chinese did not readily accept the blame put on Bhutan Army.  However, I take no credit. Looks like few Bhutanese fb friends shared my article and their journalists friends saw the opportunity to translate it into Chinese language and had published the translated version along side my original article in english. That caught attention of many in the world. And Indian media representative offices in Beijing also noticed. So attention of both Indian, Chinese and others including scholars and analysts were drawn to my article. Whoever translated and published the article was responsible for getting the facts out for a wider audience to scrutinise. 

My article " Understanding Sino-Bhutan Border issues at Doklam. Search for truth "  was intended to reassure our own people that Royal Bhutan Army was not a messenger boy of the Indian Army as was implied by the allegation. I had no idea that my article would find wider audience and impact those in China and India. I blog on many  issues of both national and international nature.  In Bhutan some  people pay attention because they find me forthright and also often I was proved right by turn of events. But outside media never noticed what I wrote. It suited me fine. I seek no publicity or popularity like a journalist. I am quite self comfortable  in my individuality within Bhutan.

Just two examples to illustrate my point to outside journalist/ media that what I wrote never mattered nor noticed by them till now. Therefore, I had no reasons to assume that this time it would be any different.

When Rahul Gandhi tore up the Ordinance whilst PM Singh was in Washington,  I wrote that his action signaled  the beginning of end of Congress Party  because he was challenging the old guards who actually constitute the backbone of Gandhi Family Congress Party. 

During American Primary Election Phase, I wrote that Trump was the one to watch out. And I think I was among the few political watchers who concluded that Hillary would lose. I also expected the backlash of old political establishment of both Parties Republican and Democrat against President Trump.  Not initially with the aim to oust him but to tame him to their interests also. American Presidency is more of a high stakes within American political and corporate establishments than to the world at large. Maybe same in other nations also.

It really does not matter to Bhutan which Political Party comes to power in India or who becomes American President. Generally, these two nations operate within the same set foreign policy parameters towards Bhutan. I wrote about these simply because  comprehending political developments accurately is good mental  exercise. And sharing the same with fellow Bhutanese can be of mutual benefit.

At Doklam whoever wins whether it is China or India, for sure Bhutan cannot  have it. Even if China gives Doklam to Bhutan, it is clear from recent developments that India will takeover for her strategic purposes.  Unless a totally new arrangement is feasible, under prevailing circumstance, either way,  Bhutan is out.  Whether Bhutan can move forward and seal the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement depends on the political acumen capacity of Bhutanese leadership. I do not for sure know how strong is Bhutan's claim on Doklam since our history is more oral based than documented in writing. And India's contention is in worse shape  as she was under Britain until 1947. And it was British India who sold out Doklam to China.

But for sure whatever comes out of Doklam conflict, Bhutan Army will remain for Bhutan to keep and Bhutanese to trust. Thus my expression of confidence in the integrity of our own Army.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Silence is for double dubious Dealers not for true Bhutanese citizens.

The allegation that Royal Bhutan Army sought the help of Indian Army at Doklam is a crushing blow to our sovereign honour.   This is above and outside any other issues that Bhutan may have with China or India. So do not belittle this by bringing up other issues. Deal with this at all cost. Do not hide for the whole wide world has been informed. Only the guilty or the colluders will remain silent.

Please understand that the allegation that at Doklam the Royal Bhutan Army fell at the feet of the Indian Army seeking help is a huge dishonour to our Defence Force and the Supreme Commander. This allegation over shadows any other grievances that Bhutan maybe having with either India or China. It is a very deep national wound and humiliation. And defeats the very purpose of having a Defence Force and great Supreme Commander. 

In regards to Doklam, whatever the Royal Government positions maybe, I do not believe that RBA would have sought Indian Army help to confront any construction party of China at Doklam or anywhere else at the Sino- Bhutan Border. If that was so, why even station our Defence Force at the international Borders? Bhutan might as well hand over the security of our international borders to the care of respective Indian or Chinese Armies if we believe that the role of Bhutanese Army is that of frightened begging boy between the Armies of India and China.

On my part , I deeply respect and sincerely honour the sacrifices made, the physical hardships undergone in the harsh Himalayan weathers and the enormous courage shown by our soldiers and officers in  guarding our international borders be it in the South, North, East or West of the Kingdom.

The Royal Bhutan Army has always stood their ground and up held their duty and responsibility.  And no one has any political or moral right to discredit such an honourable national defence force of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

I have no personal issues with The Bhutanese or its Editor. There is no merit in pettiness. And I have no preference for neighbours as such has been decided by the Creator of the Universe.  But I do  appreciate the generous economic assistance and free trade and transit granted by India to us. I do want for India to  remain our number one friend though I believe that Bhutan should have diplomatic and trade relationships with China also.

However, none of my general feelings has any relation to how humiliated I feel at this  allegation that Royal Bhutan Army failed the nation at Doklam. No !  I will not keep silent at this gross insult and injustice to RBA and to the whole sovereign honour of the Bhutanese Kingdom.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

National Amenities and their necessities.

Druk Air, Tashi Air ( Bhutan Airlines ) Helicopter Service, Hotels like Taj Tashi, Le Meridien etc are very costly investments but essential assets that enhance national convenience and prestige. And when such amenities are shouldered by the private,  the load becomes lighter for the nation.

Long ago, there was BGTS ( Bhutan Government Transport Service ). It represented movability for the masses and hence social connectivity. Not a commercial profit oriented enterprise but a pivotal engine of national connectivity. An active symbol of nation awakening together. I still believe that such a basic transport service should  be set up by the  state covering all routes as means of affordable transport facility for the needy. The private bus service agencies can provide high quality mini bus services in commercially viable sectors.

Air services to India and destinations even if only to few other Countries widen national horizon. Promotes international connectivity thus bringing Bhutan and rest of the outer world closer. Hotels of international recognition and standards facilitate international conferences, workshops and seminars in Bhutan. Especially convenient when state visits happen. These establishments are long term investments that would take years to generate profit but fill national needs immediately upon operation. 

Druk Air was established by the Government and still owned 100% by the Government. And its contribution to national sovereign status is immeasurable. Tashi Air and Taj Tashi Hotel are privately owned Companies of Bhutanese investors. And Hotel Meridien of Thimphu and Paro are said to be joint ventures between Bhutanese and Indian investors. Bhutanese investors are the larger shareholders. The names Taj and Meridien are of the hotel chain  management groups of known international brand who bring into the country high quality services and standard of Management. 

They manage and operate the hotels at a fee and dictate the kind of facilities and qualities that are hall marks of all such international hotels managed under their brand logo. The details goes down to kind of  specifications for bed sheet and cutleries for dinning.  The ultimate loss and profit are passed on to the investors who owns the hotels.

I admire the endurance and fiscal stamina of such long term investors in airlines and hotels  in Bhutan. The market is limitted and scope of additional income from related peripheral activities is near nil. Actually in terms of commercial profit, in Bhutanese context, it is better to invest in a shopping mall than big name hotel. 

Helicopter Service within a mountainous nation is a must and if managed efficiently, the gestation period is short. Not at all like an airline. I hope few more helicopters will be pressed into service. The operation cost will come down per helicopter and rate could also become more affordable. Helicopter transport is cheaper both financially and convenient time wise. So much travel time is saved and ground hassle avoided.  And during emergency, there is nothing better than instant reach. To have the means to deliver or be there at the moment required is also a strength of a nation. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

NDTV and Doklam

Dear NDTV

Please be little discerning when talking on this sensitive subject. The Royal Government has not confirmed in any manner that Bhutan asked India to intervene. India said initially Bhutan asked  and then gradually reworded to " in coordination with Bhutan ".  Actually Indian Media and other sources referred to Indian Army and Chinese Construction Party confrontation in the 1st week of June. Bhutan Government demarche of 20th June asked China to maintain status quo as of 16the June. It is possible that such a demarche was issued at Indian request because they were caught flat footed and needed an excuse for the transgression after Nathula closed.

There were always few frictions at Sino Bhutan Border and all were always solved without ever seeking Indian help. Sino Bhutan Border is Bhutanese sovereign affair as one of your guest tonight stated. Bhutan never said Bhutan was being bullied.So please do forget your feverish narrative " tiny being bullied by big". What Indian Media propaganda!

Your ex Army guest is over shooting.  The so called swap was in Central and Western Northern Sino Bhutan Border. Not at Doklam. ( Reference Today Bigfigt  )

From: sangeywangcha@gmail.com
To: BIGFIGHT@ndtv.com

Time: 9:12 pm Date 08-07-2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Fiscal Incentives the flashing constitutional controversy in Bhutanese Politics.

1. I first heard of it when MP Tharchen of NC made a reference in fb. But did not understand the basis. 

2. Next there was the call for resignations of PM and FM by DNT. Since they directed the attack against two individuals and not the whole Government, it simply looked politics of personal attack in nature.

After listening to the two leaders PM and OL  live at BBS, my feelings are as follows.

a) BBS should show the specific paragraphs of Supreme Court Judgement dealing with Fiscal Incentives if such was part of the whole judgement on taxation requiring to be a Money Bill. The Opposition Leader could also have read out the relevant judgement during the interview  if DPT was absolutely confident of their interpretation of the judgement.

b) The PM had declared that the Supreme Court had not taken away the Government's prerogative in providing Fiscal Incentives. He seemed confident on this score.  He also said that as Opposition, he had never questioned this prerogative of the Government whilst sueing the Government on motor vehicle tax raise.

c. The Opposition Leader stated that he and his Party was under the understanding that the Supreme Court Judgement had taken away the Government's prerogative on Fiscal Incentives. However, the same judgement had not censured the Fiscal Incentives already given by the DPT Government. He felt the judgement came into force from the day it was issued.

All in all,  the Opposition Leader was saying that the two Parties had derived different interpretations from the same judgement of the Supreme Court. In my view, it is quite unlikely for concerned Political Parties and Agencies to have such opposing interpretation of a what was termed " a Land Mark  Judgement " in the first constitutional case. 

The Opposition Leader, however, did confirm that PDP had not litigated Fiscal Incentives in  the constitutional case. The then the 2 member PDP Opposition had only challenged the Motor Vehicle Tax.

Conclusions:

a) Whose interpretation is correct can be determined if and when specific part of Judgement on Fiscal Incentive, if any,  is made available to the public. The judgement was several  years back and most would not be able to recall off the cuff.

I do not recall that the  judgement had covered Fiscal Incentives. It was not an issue raised by PDP. As PM stated on BBS, it may have been part of defence arguement of DPT Government to support  the taxation on motor vehicle without Parliament approval. The  Government had power to grant Fiscal Incentives and therefore,  by the same virtue, the Government should have power to levy tax, could have been the line of arguement.

Still, though Fiscal Incentives was not under the scanner at that time, maybe the final judgement had touched upon it. Only a scrutiny of the actual text of the judgement would reveal the facts.

b) Until I heard the Opposition Leader state that the Supreme Court judement of the first constitutional case had taken away the Government's  prerogative on Fiscal Incentives, I never thought of " constitutional breach " .

I suppose when the PDP Government had granted Fiscal Incentives in January, 2016, the Opposition DPT must have opposed the same then and there pointing out the unconstitutionality of it. It is not possible to follow all issues discussed during Parliament Sessions or in the public domain.   And I do not recollect that DNT had publicly raised any objection until recently in the media.

Just for reference or information, as per set precedent, guilt of constitutional breach does not end in automatic exit of the guilty political party. But a correction in the course is implemented. 
  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Understanding Sino - Bhutan Border issues at Doklam. Search for truth

The recent Doklam event has many versions. The Indian media naturally had the versions of their Government though they  shared what the Chinese also said.

More than the Indian media,  it was  Tenzing Lamzang of The Bhutanese who attempted to expound the Indian Government positions/ views upon the Bhutanese public through his lengthy article titled " Understanding the Doklam border issue ".

The best way to seeve the truth is to visit history of various events relating to Sino- Bhutan Border and compare with this recent inflated and manipulated Doklam incident. So now another lengthy article in response to Indian media and Tenzing Lamsang article.

1. Initially from late 1960s and through 70s, the Government of India made attempts to discuss with China on the issue of China- Bhutan international border demarcation.   

2. China rejected all such attempts by India. China maintained that Bhutan which is a sovereign Kingdom should stand for herself and deal directly with China.

3. So India had to permit Bhutan to directly deal with China on the border issue. That was how the Border Talks began between Bhutan and China from the 1980s. Since then 24 rounds of Talks have taken place in most cordial manner. And much progress have been achieved. India was always kept in the loop by Bhutan.

4. It is possible that the public of Bhutan feel that the Talks are taking too long. Similar views also have been aired in the National Assembly of Bhutan . I understand the innocent frustrations. Under the past absolute Monarchy system, people are used to instant decisive decision of a King. Many do not understand the complexities involved in international boundary demarcation. The case is more perplexing since the Government is in no position to bare all the uncomfortable truths including heavy pressures from India to demand more strategic land from China.  

5. Also the Indo- Bhutan international boundary in the South was demarcated so quietly.  The public did not hear anything about Bhutan negotiating with India regarding her international border in the South with India. It is possible that Bhutan was in no position to negotiate. Bhutan is more vulnerable to a takeover by India than by China. Also Bhutan has no access to outside world except through India. And moreover,  Bhutanese economy and commerce are totally dependant on India including travel from West Bhutan to East Bhutan in the South of the Kingdom. Against such geopolitical constrictions, Bhutan probably had to accept at where ever,  the Survey of India decided to lay  the Indo- Bhutan international boundary pillars. Thus the quiet smoothness and the speed when one side makes decision for two sides.

6. The fact that China is willing to negotiate with Bhutan on the international boundary of the two nations is I believe a giant step forward for Bhutanese sovereignty. I am grateful to China for this sovereign courtesy. I am even more grateful to India for all the economic assistance  and freedom of trade and transit that enabled Bhutan to develop thus far. But I do love Bhutan ever more.

7. There is no doubt in my mind that Bhutan would want to finalise the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks and sign the Agreement. Bhutan has to be fully aware of the limitations of demands we can make upon China. And at the same time Bhutan is in no position to ignore the strategic interests of India. There is too much pressure. That is why  Doklam the tri-junction Plateau is drawing multi attentions. It will be a blessing in disguise if China or India forcefully just takeover  Doklam Plateau. The so called status quo is endangering the status of whole of Bhutan. 

8. For Bhutan, Doklam holds no extra strategic significance than any other part of the Kingdom.  But for both India and China, this Tri- junction is considered most vital. Unfortunately for India, the international boundary between Sikkim India and Tibet China at the Doklam Tri-Junction was decided long time back. So as vital as whole of Doklam Plateau is for Indian military strategic interest, there is not much that India can do through her State of Sikkim. The Sikkim door which India possessed is closed.

9. India, therefore, is pushing Bhutan to claim as much as possible the part of Doklam Plateau in the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks. India knows that she has the clout to use Bhutanese territory to serve her strategic interest. So what India herself had forfeited in negotiation with China, she now wants Bhutan to re-claim. This places Bhutan in a very difficult position. Every inch of Bhutanese land is sacred. To claim land for our own is justifiable. But to demand disputed land from China for Indian strategic purposes could endanger Bhutan. In demanding more, Bhutan loses the moral ground  to even claim what is rightfully hers. 

9. Bhutan is placed in a near impossible position. China will never surrender the strategic position that  she had already gained at Doklam Plateau during  negotiation on international boundary with India ( State of Sikkim ). And India is insisting upon  Bhutan to wrest from China larger portion of Doklam Plateau that India could not get whilst negotiating with China on Sikkim-Tibet international boundary.

10. China wants to have better relation with the sovereign Kingdom of Bhutan. And wants to settle the border dispute in the interest of promoting closer ties including diplomatic relationship.  And  China has shown willingness to accommodate Bhutanese requests/ stand in other parts of the northern border. But not at the Tri-Junction where China shares border with Indian State of Sikkim and Bhutan. It seems that  China had made her position clear to India in regards to Doklam status even when negotiating with India on the internal boundary of the State of Sikkim which borders Doklam along with Tibet and Bhutan. There is no way that China will give in to India through Bhutan front. The Government of Bhutan knows this and wants to be realistic and conclude the negotiations without further adieu and sign the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement. But Bhutan does not dare to sign the Agreement without the nod from India. In the end, China will keep exercising jurisdiction over Doklam Plateau and Bhutan always at merciful generosity of India.  

11. India is worried about the security of her so called chicken neck of the Siliguri corridor and thereby, the Eastern Frontier States.  Maybe that was the reason of takeover of Sikkim. In the same manner, China is worried about the future security of her narrow Chumbi Valley stretch and thereby the whole of Tibet. China seems to considers Doklam Plateau as vital to her as Sikkim is to India. Even then China was willingly to share a part of Doklam Plateau with Bhutan so as to enable an amicable settlement. I feel we have to face the reality. China may not wait forever for Bhutan to get Indian clearance. Chinese security concerns would out weigh any ties including with Bhutan.
 
12. Presently the international boundary in eastern Bhutan has not been demarcated even with India . The sticking point is that Arunachal Pradesh is on the other side. And China claims part of Arunachal. So later, like Doklam, there is bound to be similar Tri- Juction situation. And there, too, China would not be compromising her national security for friendship with Bhutan. So considering all aspects, it may be also in India's interest to let Bhutan sign the Sino-Bhutan Border Agreement. The gesture could contribute towards reaching reasonable agreement towards drawing the Sino- India Arunachal border demarcation. Confidence building is a must in negotiation. 

13.  China will not budge in Sino - Bhutan Border negotiation where Bhutan is deemed to act as a proxy for Indian strategic interests. At times during Sino - Bhutan Border Talks, China may have been suspicious of India directing the negotiations from Bhutan side. And this time with India openly declaring that she had interferred on behalf of Bhutan at Doklam confirms that all along Bhutan has been actually acting as a proxy for Indian Doklam interest. This will harden Chinese resolve. 

14. The Bhutanese Army at Doklam would not  approach the Indian Army stationed on the Sikkim side in regards to any issue with China. Bhutan is well aware that directly involving India is an act of surrendering sovereignty to another nation. It took many years and much diplomatic and political maneuvering to convince India to let Bhutan negotiate directly with China. Bhutanese leaders must demonstrate more courageous wisdom and resolve if Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement  is to be successfully signed.

Response to The Bhutanese.

Tenzing Lamsang the Editor of The Bhutanese,  in his lengthy article claimed that Bhutanese Army tried unsuccessfully to stop the road construction by the Chinese Party and then Indian Army got involved in stopping the construction. I really doubt that Indian Army can ever stop China from doing anything on the land that she claims as her own. Tenzing Lamsang may or may not care of the implication of what he related or claimed. But for sure he does not seem to recognise or acknowledge  how much Bhutan wants to keep Sino- Bhutan Border Talks a sovereign affair of Bhutan.

Tenzing Lamsang may have been just a student studying in a Tibetan School in New Delhi when major incursion by China happened into Bhutan ( northern boundary of Haa Dzongkhag with China Tibet ).  Understandably, Tibetan Schools in India would not have any good things to teach about China. They may even target Bhutan for the troubles Bhutan had with Tibetans in early 1970s. Any way whether Tenzing Lamsang was born or already a studenr, when that Chinese incursion took place, IMTRAT was very much there in Haa. And yet, Bhutan did not seek Indian Army help. 

The King of Bhutan did not turn to Indian Army stationed in Haa Wangchuk LoDzong  to confront the Chinese force. In fact, I believe the IMTRAT in Haa was in disarray probably packing up to leave Bhutan when the Chinese incursion happened. His Majesty commanded a Captain of Royal Bhutan Army to lead an unarmed small RBA force to march up to the extreme northern border of Haa with Tibet. A symbolic act to maintain the integrity of Bhutanese land. And this Captain accomplished the Command of his Supreme Commander. That was how a crisis was averted. Today that Captain is the Chief of Operations of Royal Bhutan Army. As a novice junior RBA Officer, he and his soldiers faced the Chinese troops and paved their way to the border. Now as a General, he can never direct his soldiers at the outpost at Doklam to seek Indian Army help. Not way. Not at all. 

So Tenzing Lamsang, my views are not based on  " desktop musing "   as inferred by you ( my response in your fb post has been deleted by you but it's OK. I have my blog as you have your Newspaper. So I have answered your article in full here ).

I know for a fact that Bhutanese soldiers at Border out -posts take their responsibility sincerely and courageously and independent of Indian Army.  It is an insult to RBA and the nation  to even insinuate that Bhutanese officers and soldiers, on their own,  cannot deal with Chinese forces at the border. I had, therefore, objected to Tenzing Lamsang's  narration to the Bhutanese public the foreign propaganda materials that glorifies Indian Army at the expense of Royal Bhutan Army. RBA may be trained and funded by India but our Defence Force has independant Bhutanese national heart and responsibility. RBA has always fulfilled the task of securing Bhutanese Borders and cleansing the nation of any intruders including from India.  

Conclusion:

Royal Bhutan Army outposts at the Sino- Bhutan border are there to carry out their defence tasks. Our officers and soldiers are not posted there to warm the chilly mountain air with their breath. They do not run to Indian Army to seek help to execute their own national defence task. Numerous Sino- Bhutan incidents have taken place in the past. And in all those incidents,  the Royal Bhutan Army, the Chief of Operations or the Supreme Commander has never sought help of Indian Army to face Chinese troops at the Sino- Bhutan Border. Now if China invades Bhutan, probably His Majesty may seek Indian help. Likewise if India invades Bhutan, His Majesty may seek Chinese assistance. Maybe both will come without even inviting. Until then, Bhutan will deal with what are deemed to be containable conflicts on its own whether in the South or in the north.

For general readers. I have one point of clarification. It is true that within Bhutan,  there are Indian military presences as declared by India.  And yes, Bhutanese Army is trained by India and even funded by India. But all this is not for defence of Bhutan. It is for the security of India. In the defence strategy plan  of India against China, India counts on Bhutan's ability to secure her international borders with China. So Indian military is in Bhutan for defence of India. And likewise Indian Army's recent action at Doklam Plateau has nothing to do with Bhutanese national interest or with Bhutanese Security Force at Doklam.

The demarche issued on 20th June by Bhutan Embassy in New Delhi to Chinese Embassy is a normal happening. Both China and Bhutan follow this diplomatic procedure to air any misgivings or clear any misunderstandings at the borders. The soldiers of China and Bhutan do not engage in unruly jostling or play kapadi kind of pushing and catching game at the Sino- Bhutan border. It must also be noted that the Bhutanese Government referred to road being built in "disputed area". Not " inside undisputed "  Bhutanese territory. It said " maintain status quo" which is different from allegation of encroachment into Bhutanese Security  Force  manned Bhutanese territory.  

The Press Release by Bhutanese Foreign Ministry on 29th June is out of norm. A kind of political " cry Wolf ".  Bhutan usually acts quietly with dignity. Who was Bhutan appealing to in the Press Release with all the history ? If it was China whom we were addressing then there was no need of history as they are party to all the history. This unusual propaganda type of Press Release may have been issued at Indian request to consolidate their weak stand in the international arena. Unfortunately, in so doing, the Bhutanese Government may have further complicated a complex issue. Maybe we need to prayer harder and sincerely for the guidance of Pelden Drukpa.

May Tsawa Soum be in continuous good health. Pelden Drukpa Gyel Lo!    
  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

No true friend only self interested neighbours at Doklam.

Bhutanese Citizens must not get excited with the overblown Doklam problem at the Tri-Junction of  Chinese Tibet, Indian Sikkim and Bhutan. There is more politics here than actual action. Bhutanese soldiers at the border are fully capable of protecting our sovereignty without the assistance of any third party. Also Bhutan has never asked any Country including close friend India to fight our border  battle.

Regarding Sino - Bhutan Border, both nations have been holding talks to arrive at acceptable solutions. The  progress of such talks hinges on confidence building measures not just historical tales and documents if any. The moment India steps in or claims to help Bhutan in the  Sino Bhutan Boundary issues,  China becomes suspicious and attitude changes.

Indian Media also keeps changing their reports.  Until Bhutanese Foreign Ministry issued a press statement, they said the encroachment was related to Bhutan. Now they are saying the problem is at Sikkim China border. 

Also it is impossible for Indian soldiers to come to the aid of Bhutanese soldiers at Doklam. Our soldiers would resist any such offer.  Bhutanese solders cannot ask help from Indian soldiers to deal with Chinese soldiers. Likewise Bhutanese soldiers cannot ask help from Chinese soldiers to deal with Indian soldiers. Bhutanese officers are well aware of the implications of such stupidity.

The reasons why the successive Kings of Bhutan had Bhutanese soldiers guarding the international  borders of the Kingdom is that we do not trust both  China and India to protect our international border. If we ever be so stupid to ask their help, their soldiers will enter but never leave Bhutan.

The King of Bhutan led his own Bhutanese soldiers during the war in South Bhutan against Indian militant groups. His Majesty did not ask China or India to help. It would have been a lost cause if the King hid behind soldiers of other nations. Thus His Majesty led from the front his own soldiers.

Bhutanese citizens and democratic leaders must keep in mind that the day Bhutan relies on India or China to fight our battle, we betray our sovereignty. And please keep away from political charade that China and India engages in at the Tri- Junction Doklam. Do not be dragged into the dangerous net of India and China conflict. They will swallow Bhutan first and then continue their  disputes for ages to come.  

And stop believing that India is defending Bhutanese international boundary interests against China at Doklam. Does any genuine Bhutanese citizen or leader believe that during demarcation of India and Bhutan international  borders, the Indian Government or her Army would have been looking out for Bhutanese interests ?  Only Bhutan can truly stand for Bhutanese interests especially in matters of our international borders. Pelden Drukpa Gyel Lo !

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On Fiscal Incentives becoming Money Bill and proposed National Water Commission

Well !  Very much in character of Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, he faced the nation on BBS live a while ago..

Just watched the PM defending the approach of his Government on issues of   1.Fiscal Incentives as Money Bill  and   2.Proposed National Water Commission.

My takes:

PM says that  Fiscal Incentive granted by DPT Government 3 days before winding up its term resulted in Nu:186 million savings for 94 hotels so far. And out this amount Nu: 76 million was the savings of the Le Meriden Hotel of the daughter of  former Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba. Quite a statistic.   Possible that the hotel Le Meriden Thimphu did more business and therefore,  benefitted more  from the incentives granted. However, with such a fact surfacing, one does realise the necessity of more transparency in  Fiscal Incentive given by a Government.

2. I still stand by my blog I wrote on 24th June, 2017 on " Fiscal Incentives and Money Bill. I feel it is too simple to leave the whole issue of Fiscal Incentives becoming  Money Bill upon the Speaker's decision only.  However,  I do not find any valid ground regarding DNT calls for resignations.  Maybe for the same reason, the Opposition Party and the NC have not publicly backed DNT stand.

3. I share Lyonchhen's view that Money Bills will always get passed by a sitting  Government but there will be transparency even for Fiscal Incentives.

4. Regarding Water Commission, the PM is aware about the Act that empowers NEC on matters of water resources. So DPT stand which I read  in Kuensel today is very valid and legitimate. However, with the proposal for National Water Commission, it seems the Government intends to make parallel approaches. Drafting the proposal for National Water Commission and also working towards framing necessary legislation/ amendments to legally constitute the Commission. As a citizen I simply look for the necessity since existing  legislations can always be amended and new  created by the Parliament.

At personal level, I am dismayed with many water sources drying up. Such news dominates anxieties of rural people in BBS TV news. The urban residents also face acute water scarcity. It is not just irrigation and drinking water issues as vital as these are. Water is the soul of natural vegetation upon which a nation survives. In my own perception, the nation must be more serious and sincere in regards to water sources and management of dry wastes. I hope these two environmental agendas get the blessings of all authorities, Agencies,  Political Parties and all citizens.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fiscal Incentives and Money Bill confuses comprehension.

Just went through today's Kuensel Front page news. " Govt. dismisses Fiscal Incentives accusations".

Money Bill needs the approval of National Assembly. The same bill if approved by National Assembly goes to National Council for its views and recommendation though these are not binding upon the National Assembly. The National Council has no mandate to reject a Money Bill but it can shape public opinion with critical review. It can also make suggestions which if accepted by the National Assembly, would be incorporated.

According to Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, "Fiscal Incentives" are within the authority of the Executive/ Government. This in reality means that approval  of even  National Assembly is  not required. The precedents support this contention of the Prime Minister.

Now one wonders why the Government introduced  "Fiscal Incentives, 2016 " as a Money Bill when it declares that " Fiscal Incentives" are not required to receive approval of the National Assembly before implementing. 

What the Government seems to have tried to do was prevent another Government from doing away with the "Fiscal Incentives"  that it has granted by coating these " Fiscal Incentives"  as a Money Bill.  If a differen Party Government comes, that Government can immediately stop " Fiscal Incentives "  given by the previous Government though not with retrospective effect. This is possible only if the " Fiscal Incentives" are the prerogative of the Executive as put forth by the Prime Minister. However, to undo a Money Bill, the new Government has to go back to National Assembly and also receive Royal Assent. And that takes more time and effort. So the " Fiscal Incentives" granted by this Government cannot be instantly done away by a new different Party Government. The subsequent effect is that  it gives the industries receiving " Fiscal Incentives " the crucial  lobbying time and avenue. Generally any reigning Political Party would be reluctant to withdraw "Fiscal Incentives" unless political  vendetta is warranted to the extreme. In Bhutan political vendatta can be very narrow sighted.

The present Government cannot have the cake as well as eat it. Unless a Money Bill or any Bill passed by the National Assembly or the Parliament can be applied with retrospective effect ( most unusual), the " Fiscal Incentives" granted by the Government prior to the approval of this Mony Bill is subject to full recovery. And that is quite an uncomfortable prospect for the present Government. 

I do agree with the Prime Minister in his view that the call by DNT for resignations of the Finance Minister and himself is more a publicity stunt than Constitution based. ( I do also accept that all over the world,  political parties are prone to hype self achievements and hype even more the wrong doings of others. That's the nature of party politics. So DNT call is normal rather than exception).  

The Government did not breach the Constitution. But it does look like the Finance Ministry out witted itself in the Fiscal Incentive issue. The Government must comply with its own call for standard. If another Government is expected to follow the Money Bill standard for Fiscal Incentives, hereafter,  then PDP Government must set the example. Thus the present Government must  recoup back what the National Exchequer lost through grant of  " Fiscal Incentives" by it during the period uncovered by the Mony Bill.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Toilet Cleaners.

The most famous toilet cleaner in Bhutan is Chaplop Passang. His dignity derived from menial labour of cleaning toilets has been distinctively recognised and applauded by His Majesty the King and thus the title, " Chaplop ".

I clean toilets. No, not just toilets within my house. I clean toilet pots and pans and scrub shower room walls of flats vacated by tenants with my bare hands and a rag. My finger nails are short and my shirt sleeves are rolled up. I scrub toilet pots inside and outside and scrub the toilet floors. Toilet pots are easier to clean than the oily dirt cakes on the tiles of shower walls. Sometimes, I wonder how occupants had managed to avoid cleanliness whilst cleaning their physical person.

But I do not complain. It is the least of welcome services that we can do for our incoming tenants and a kind of thank you to the last tenant.  Afterall, our tenants are our main source of livelihood. And by the way, I am just one of the whole family team though I guess as the head of the family, I have some influence in developing the attitude in social and self responsibility. We just want the Triple Gem to know that we are grateful to be a hard working happy  family with the opportunities granted.   And for us cleaning toilets is an opportunity not a penalty. Nothing to be ashamed of and no reason to boast. Just part of our responsibility as life goes on.  

Toilet cleaning is an honest labour but it cannot be anyone's ultimate passion. I did what is necessary to make possible an honest livelihood. I did many things besides cleaning toilets so would most people in their journey of life.
 
Also by necessity, I am an excellent house electrician, an intelligent plumber and even a mediocre carpenter with more skill in guiding than sawing. These  low paying menial jobs for which I never got paid except that no payment had to be paid out to others, contributed to my family welfare along with my many executive posts with revolving chairs and private offices in the Government, the Corporations and even the Media world. By necessity too, I taught myself about laws of the land, religious scriptures,  politics of the day and the happenings of the world in general. Jack of many trades with fortunate proficiencies in few fields including cleaning toilets. Thank Providence that rules Fate and Life.

I became quite an expert, too , in getting babies delivered at home and ofcourse hand-washing all the clothes and bed sheets after a wonderful giddy filled sensation that births at home bring about. From cutting and then tying the cord ends of a new born baby to even cutting children hair to save money on barber service is a job that comes along with fatherhood. I value money and I believe most Bhutanese would not shy away from honest work including cleaning toilets if these  pay adequately. My domestic weakness is that I am a lousy cook and I dread cooking though making tea is an easy job. This handicap in cooking, I partly attribute to my beloved mother. From early childhood , my mother told me, " prepare for the tasks outside the house. Leave the home management to me". And by providence, what a home manager she was! The light of our home lit my life path. On my part, I never shied away from honest works outside the home. Thank you so much incredible mother and home manager. My sole goddess guide.

I have no qualms about doing menial works but it would be incorrect to declare that I enjoy doing them. And now with passing years, there is physical discomfort associated with physical labour. Anyway,  If I had the ultimate choice, I would rather be watching a good movie or reading a novel undisturbed. I can while away a whole day writing or reading or simply being in front of a radio those days but now a TV screen without actually paying much attention to what is happening in and around me in the room. In fact at times forgetting the where I am.  I can even forget about meals. Now you know how I would love to spend most of my days at this stage of life. Still if  called for, I would not mind cleaning toilets.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

PLIGHT OF CIVIL SERVANTS and RCSC.

A positive signal that RCSC is concerned about plight of retired civil servants. Hopefully such concerns are gradually translated into real positive actions.

I see 2 areas that RCSC can set it's goal to ease retirees' agony.

1. RCSC as a central agency could play a lead role to do away with income tax on pension of all retirees whether of private, ngo, corporation, civil service or retired elected officials.

2. Recently much was made about the 20% house rent allowance that was made applicable to all civil servants few years back.  And calls were made to dismantle Civil Service system and introduce contract system. The civil servants were accused of being greedy.  The truth is that in reality most civil servants just got the benefit  only 4% increase in basic pay whilst all elected officials received over 60% hike. RCSC remained totally silent and did not clarify the true situations and roles of civil servants.  Let me elaborate what I feel about RCSC and Civil Servants.

a) That the 20% house rent allowance though a welcome effort to parity within the civil service, a lot of the civil servants  already had Government quarters provided at officer level and lower category staffs, where available, had  quarters with subdised rents. Therefore, they were not eligible for house rent allowance. That is the reasons why the  majority who got only the pitiful 4% increase felt aggrieved and feel continued to be insulted and neglected. 

b) The institution of civil service remain the stabilising force especially in a political environment where individual and political party interest overtake national goals. This is the reason why some forces are out there publicly calling for dismantling the civil service. Such forces who are instigating and leading such calls are well aware that it is the well qualified and dedicated civil servants that stand between ambitious political forces and the sanctity of the Tsawa Soum. If existing civil service system is done away then forces disloyal to the nation could infiltrate civil service in greater numbers. In such an event, even the loyal security forces cannot prevent national subversion.  RCSC must see through these malicious intent of such activists and protect the sanctity, the dignity and welfare of civil servants. Do not allow unhealthy  forces to neglect and dis- honour the civil service group.

c) RCSC must play a proactive role in ensuring a sustainable monthly salary for civil servants in the same way it is ensuring quality out put from civil servants. Whilst elected officials goes all out to help themselves and each other, civil servants have only the RCSC and the Blessings of the King who alone fully comprehends the indispensable role of civil cadres. His Majesty the King cannot directly intervene. It is the RCSC which must directly shoulder the task of ensuring a fair deal for all categories of civil servants. A genuine relief for civil servants who retire would be a better remuneration and respects whilst in active service. It  does not do much good to extent empty sympathy to retired people. However, I applaud RCSC for being aware of the many problems the retirees undergo and the attempt to tackle such issues within the limitted capacity / resources  that RCSC has at its disposal. 

On a personal note about house rent. I never paid house rent whilst as a civil servant. For over 12 years the Government paid the house rent and after that I managed to build a hut of my own in what was then a far corner of Thimphu Valley and thereafter never claimed housing allowance from Government. A cow, few pigs and chickens supplemented my family needs. It was hard work but I was motivated to improve welfare of all at home in Haa and my immediate family in Thimphu.  Today the situation is different for all including civil servants. It is most difficult to acquire a spot for a hut even in remote Bhutan and most anyway lack the will and stamina to labour ( from dawn and even after dusk ) even if what I did some decades back is possible in some corners of Bhutan.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Melom Chhenmo and Chhathrims.

Mainly due to the huge investment of his personal commitment, financial contributions  and exhaustive time devoted, His Holiness the Jhe Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra has heralded an era where the people of  all 20 Dzongkhags in Bhutan now conduct a yearly Melom Chhenmo.

In all the Dzongkhags, the Melom Chhenmo were initiated and made possible by private people with the active blessings, endorsement and participation of His Holiness. The Dzongkhag Administrations and Dzongkhag Dratsangs naturally played very active and vital roles during the conduct of the annual Great Prayers. However, the main motivators and initiators and the central force behind all the Melom Chhenmo in the Dzongkhags are from amongst the general public ( private as well as officials in private and individual capacity) of respective Dzongkhags. It is not just the funds raised but also the meals served and enthusiasms demonstrated in celebrating and mass attendance by the general public that makes annual Melom Chhenmo such a celebrated and hugely successful spiritual  event. The public have a sense of ownership, responsibility and community togetherness for their Dzongkhag annual Melom Chhenmo. 

Against this backdrop, there is an ongoing process that kind of, hereater, converts this people sponsored and celebrated event into an officially managed affair.  I am told that His Holiness had ordered for a Melom Chhenmo  Chhathrim to be adopted by each Dzongkhag. And such a Chhathrim already adopted by some Dzongkhags specify that successive Dasho Dzongdags as Chairman and the Lam Netens as Vice Chairman of Melom Chhenmo. This naturally transfers the management of accumulated Melom Chhenmo Fund under the authority of respective Dzongdags and Lam Netens. And Melom Chhenmo becomes an official event.

I am rather dismayed that public role in what they so fervently built up, will be diminished to an extent that in few years time,  public say will be rendered nil. I am not surprised that Dzongdags and Lam Netens are so readily accepting the roles of Chairman and Vice Chairmanships. Maybe,  they feel that their institutional roles should be rewarded more or that they should have their hands into the funds which is not subject to official audit.  Maybe they are only submitting to the wishes of His Holiness.

It is possible that His Holiness hopes to ensure Melom Chhenmo durability in the years ahead through a Chhathrim that places the annual Melom Chhenmo event under the authority and management of the Dzongkhag administration and the Dratsang.

I humbly feel that to remove the central role and say of the public from Melom Chhenmo is like removing the soul from the body. The durability of Dzongkhag Melom Chhenmo can be most effectively assurred by simply having the Central Monastic Body formalise for the future the  successive Jhe Khenpos gracing the Melom Chhenmo of each Dzongkhag in the footstep of His Holiness the present Jhe Khenpo. . Such a Dratsang  commitment would be whole heartedly and most gratefully cherished and welcomed by the public of 20 Dzongkhags. And Melom Chhenmo event will be celebrated in the grandest of spirit and faith even after the time of His Holiness Trulku Jigme Choedra and without a Chhathrim.       

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I call a Glaring denial.

I would never belittle any Political Party whether old or new or in the process of formation and their Party heirachy. It is a herculean task to establish and maintain a Political Party in Bhutan.

Democracy cannot make headway without Political Parties and differing personalities. The Parties do shoulder heavy respinsibilities. There is no easy way to even form a Political Party given the restrictions and requirements in place. I value and respect all political parties.

Therefore, actually today,  I just wanted to listen rather than raise doubt at this juncture.  But I just cannot convince myself that the founder of BKP did not indicate that BKP would like Dasho Neten to head the Party whilst approaching her. Also such crucial matter would have had to be discussed among core party members even if for sake of formality.  All else and views are what a party would want to promote or percieve and one can await further concrete development. Today's interview had to be what one calls a soft approach. I did not expect the new BKP President to come up with concrete ideas at this introductory BBS appearance. But this denial of having a prior idea of her position in the Party hierachy creates an unnecessary black hole. Can a politician of whatever calibre truly respect and trust the public with even a simple plain truth?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beware of what World Bank economist Martin Rama said.

I read today's Kuensel article titled " Hydro revenue ..." highlighting what Martin Rama said about Bhutanese economy.  I am thunder struck with the recommendation that states " park additional hydropower revenue instead of giving a pay hike". Park yes because we need to have reserves but why emphasis do not raise civil servants pay?

Normally,  I would not see the devilish intent behind this advice but for the ongoing fb post of grievances about pay by some civil servants. And The Bhutanese attacking such sentiments.

The fact is majority of civil servants received an increase of 4% of basic pay the last time when MPs and other elected officials got over 60% increase. Earlier Local elected officials had also received substantial increase. This time Local elected officials got on the average over 50% increase in salary. I am happy with the increase and other benefits given for multiple reasons.

I would not begrudge what elected political officials get but I also can understand why civil servants desire for better pay. Whether the nation can afford or not can be of economic or political basis. I also understand that within the nation there have to be opposing views and I do not begrudge even the attacks upon the civil servants by The Bhutanese which some view as an unofficial PDP Party mouth piece. I reserve my opinion on this particular assumption. But when an outsider like Martin Rama of World Bank makes unwarranted interference into a hot national issue, my antenna goes up. World Bank is not just a monetary institution. It is highly political in composition and strategy.

What our leaderships  think of this is possibly beyond the humble parameters of most of us the common citizens including myself.  But at personal  level, I see it as a divisive advice. Why did Martin Rama feel particularly obliged to throw a World Bank spanner into this local issue about civil servants pay raise or no raise. All over the world the intellectuals instigate and the masses respond. Is a foreign factor introducing a disruption between the engine that runs the national train and the driver that directs the train.

The Bhutanese has concluded that civil servants are too few in number to influence the outcome of an  Election. I do not even know whether every civil servants will vote or not and if they vote for whom they will vote let alone concluding that they can or cannot  change election result.  All I know is civil servants are of diverse make and inclination and I have no basis to draw a conclusion that civil servants act as a group in political or any other major issues except in their common responsibility to serve the Tsawa Sum.

For me salary has always been an economic matter never a political issue. And I hope it remains so for many employees dependent solely on one income: Their monthly salary.

Monday, May 22, 2017

President Trump of America, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Rouhani of Iran.

The King of Saudi Arabia and the President of United States declares that  Iran as a nation funds and provides safe haven for terrorists and spearheads terrorism. But both the leaders puts the blame upon the Iranian regime. The people of Iran are innocent they declared. Somehow, I feel the world super power and the richest Arab Kingdom are way off regarding the supposed disconnect between the populace and Government of Iran. Perhaps targeting only the regime could be part of possible ongoing clandestine activities of fomenting insurrections  inside Iran by the two nations 

In my view, the Iranian people have elected their leaders. Just few days back President Rouhani was re- elected for a second term. The world in general view President Rouhani as a moderate and intelligent leader. He negotiated the Nuclear Deal with America plus other 5 nations. His re-election proves that he is a popular leader among the populace. So there cannot be disconnect between him and his people who gave him a very convincing second term. 

Facts of history.

1. Iran is the only Islam nation who successfully stood up against American might. From throwing the Shah out to takeover of American Embassy in Teran to withstanding decades of American lead sanctions and freezing of its world assets including bank accounts until the Nuclear Deal.

2. Iranian President is directly elected  by the people of Iran. So majority votes is required.  Not by delegates as in America where Trump became President although Hillary got majority votes. So Iranian system is more democratic in the sense of choice of the majority.

3. Iran is not like Saudi Arabia which is ruled by an absolute Monarch and thousands of Royal family members who own the national wealth and have total say in national affairs.  

4. Iran opposes aggressions of weak nations in the Middle East by America, Israel and Saudi Arabia. That is why Iran helps Hezbollah in Lebanon bullied by Israel,  Islamic force in Yemen invaded by Saudi Arabia and Palestine people persecuted and walled in by Israel.

5. Iran did not create ISIS. America created ISIS out of Taliban forces  and the disbanded Army of Saddam Hussain of Iraq. Taliban was created by Osama Bin Laden who was a member of Saudi Royal Family.

6. Iran has not attacked any country in modern history. America has conquered Iraq, destroyed Libya and now attacking Syria. Refugee floods have been unleashed by American conducted wars.  Saudi Arabia is funding the Opposition Forces of Syria and invading Yemen with American supplied war planes and bombs. So if Allah ever delivers justice, probably Iran will triumph in the ultimate fight between what President Trump has termed the war between " Good and Bad ".

Monday, May 15, 2017

China's Belt and Road Initiative Conference at Beijing ( 14 and 15 May 2017) that India did not attend. Bhutan shied away as usual.

India is a member of AIIB ( Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and NDB ( New Development Bank). However, India  did not participate in this mammoth China conference on Belt and Road Initiative. It is said that over 120 nations and international organisations including Heads of UNO, WTO and IMF attended the Conference. India's reluctance to attend is to do with Chinese investment ( some 54 billion dollars ) in Pakistan side of Jammu Kashmir which India interprets as offence to Indian sovereignty over whole of Jammu Kashmir region.

All other SAARC nations except Bhutan attended the conference and they are also members of AIIB. The China promoted Belt and Road Initiative is welcomed by almost all nations including America, all East and West European nations, Japan, two Koreas and Russia. The ASEAN countries and African nations are enthusiastic participants. This initiative is to bring the countries of Africa, Asia and Europe closer through trade and economic linkages.

China is promoting in a modern way,  the old silk routes both overland and over the sea. It is considered an ambitious giant economic venture that will transform world approach to economic, trade and social progress. It could very well even change the political landscape.  The initiative would generate an investmrnt of over one trillion dollars. No nation would want to be left out as it could very well bring about a new World economic order. America which was initially reluctant, has had to  change her stance in the last minute because she had much to lose if isolated. 

Maybe India, too, will have to reconsider her present stance in view of the vast economic opportunities. India like America just cannot exclude herself from all the rest who are actively participating.  BBIN was in a way a small effort by India to hinder China's 3 Continents trade and economic plan. Until recently India had American support but the Super Power has undergone a change of heart and now favours the Chinese land and maritime silk route ventures.

Participants from Europe, America and some international organisations have asked for more clarity and transparency. The President of China may have done just that in his addresses to over 1200 delegates including 29 Heads of State and Government attending the Conference .

America and Western European nations could be seeking opportunities for their own Corporations without actually making financial investment from their respective national coffers. However, China and her national companies are undertaking huge projects in many countries under this umbrella and building sea ports, airports, railways, roads, bridges and developing industrial zones. A major portion of investments in these giant development projects are funded by China. Most Asian and African nations are grateful to China for  successfully taking up projects that other developed nations and international banks had refused to fund. Chinese Companies are reputed to execute huge projects within project time frame and with excellent quality. In that way both China and the host nations benefit.

So it is quite a different scenario from that of our  own Indo- Bhutan hydro projects and especially not like the Chukka-  Damchu 29 Km length bypass motor road under construction by the Indian national military wing DANTAK for almost a decade. Maybe that explains the absence of India and  Bhutan at the  Beijing conference. With the the kinds of delays and cost escalations that we are suffering in both motor roads  and hydro projects, it is just not possible to stomach the goals of One Belt and One Road Initiatives that span across 3 Continents. Om Mani Pedmi Hung to that phobia.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Traffic Management and School Buses.

The introduction of bus services by Thromde for two schools in Thimphu will positively ease traffic congestion and provide time relief to many parents. The drivers have great responsibilities. Even sudden braking could cause injuries.

Buses are packed to the maximum limit including standing spaces. Therefore,  students also must exercise utmost discipline in the constricted environment where both big and small girls and boys are jam packed. I do not think such jam packed travelling condition even for short duration is socially a desirable environment. The trip would be around 35 to 45 minutes considering  embarking and waiting for bus to be filled to the brim and in the process of struggling to reach the exit whilst disembarking from the bus.  Peer pressures, eve teasing, physical harrassment could become prevalent in congested enclosure of a moving bus with hardly room to breathe. 

I would like to thank most gratefully the Traffic Police men and women for the superb job they did till now. Every morning and evening so many cars came to drop and pick up students at YHS and Lungtenzampa School Parking and yet traffic flowed with certainty and free of accidents.  Thank you so much RBP particularly the Traffic Division.  I also appreciate the concerns and care of parents who in caring for the safety of their own children also contributed in  preserving the safety of children of other parents.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

JAB and Journalists.

Congratulations to the Winners of Awards. And keep at it all members for awards are not booked in advance. Only earned through process each year.

Hard News does not come on a platter unless the source has a motive to share it. News especially tell tales type have to be dug. If officials do not provide information at your convenience especially a telephone call at odd hours, maybe thats not how you get hard news. Be up and awake when others are working.

There is long standing tradition of building personal contact network and watching out for those who leak informations to serve their own purpose. Soliciting rather than demanding could be a way. And investigative journalism is more than gathering gossips, better than police or official narrative and consist of views from multi angles and tying of numerous threads and loose ends. 

Financial difficulties of a media agency  can limit choice of coverage but is in no way related to quality of Press Freedom. If you are fair and free then you can get away with almost all your lines. In other words create your own space of media freedom. Earn respect through your output.  Its hard work on continuous basis.Tenacity is the call. However, Government support to cover major events will help providing wider information to general public.

Limitted readership and advertisement sources plus lack of financial discipline among media agencies are hindrance to overall media development. Journalists too must practice quality standard to gain public confidence which is a different yardstick from social media/fb popularity. 

Personal attacks even unsubstantiated and anti establishment stands attract popularity in our society and social media. However, only substantive journalism can earn long term credit and also create positive impact. May good journalism contribute to building the nation. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rejoice not for BBIN delay. It could come back in this or another form. Beware.

BBIN is not as much a sub regional economic agreement as it is a sub regional political club for India leaving out other SAARC members especially Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Bhutan does not face any official difficulty in motor vehicle road access in the sub region. Bhutanese trucks already ferry apples and oranges into Bangladesh transiting through courtesy Indian territories. Indian trucks come to Bhutan and Bhutanese vehicles have access to  Indian roads. However, except for the must transit route through India from one point of South Bhutan to another, most Bhutanese trucks and cars do not foray much into Indian territories. Not forbidden but because it is quite unsafe.

And Bhutan- Nepal bulk trade is non existing. Further, BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement will not cover for Bhutan the desired transmission lines of electricity or other communication means to Bangladesh or Nepal.  Thus the supposed BBIN additional benefits of economic and other developments are conjured figments by a PDP Government put under duress from neighbourly pressures. Forgive but do not believe the Government about BBIN roses. No flowers just the thorns.

BBIN cannot achieve anything over and above SAARC forum. It is self defeating for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to dilute SAARC with BBIN formation. The reason that BBIN could come alive is because India deems it necessary to consolidate political and economic grip over the immediate neighbours. And at the same time isolate out those more  independant SAARC members and their backers especially China and America with observer status in SAARC. China even wants to become a member. 

Whatever BBIN goals maybe, definitely it is not at all to enhance movement of Bhutanese goods or people. If transport of Bhutanese  goods and people were so crucial , the proposed South Bhutan Highway would not have been killed. The ADB fund was secured and the plan ready for immediate execution. The highway project was on take off mode when our Government had to abruptly cancel it. And to add insult to injury, the construction of Samtse to Phuentsholing road already begun by DPT Government has been moving at snail pace under PDP watch.  Why?

For the PDP Government or that of any other Bhutanese Political Party, the priority would be development and catering to the needs of the people. The votes and trust of people in the South are equally important to any Political Party. Therefore, a Party in governance just on its own wish, would not kill such vital national life-lines : Constructions of South Bhutan Highway and  Amochu Hydro- Project.

What the leaders of Bhutan would or can  do, hereafter, is hard to tell. There is relief in that Bhutan has asked the other three BBIN Signatories to go ahead. And trepidation in that lingering sign, " that Bhutan shall join later after Parliament's ratification of BBIN Agreement.

Any Government whether of PDP or that of other Parties,  would be hard pressed to tackle political pressures from close quarters. We as ordinary citizens, unaware of all the pros and cons of national and regional challenges and pressures , can only voice our honest thoughts in such open forum and pray that somehow, the Tsawa Sum acting in unison will triumph in the end. 

Against all odds, HM Third King had  secured UN membership for Bhutan. Against all odds, HM Fourth King had routed the cross border heavily armed Indian Militant Groups thus eradicating once and for all times the possibility of occupation of South Bhutan by the Indian Army in planned  pursuits of those very Indian militant forces. And against all skepticisms, HM reigning Fifth King has gallantly ushered in and skillfully shepherded the era of democracy. Thus odds did not stop the steadfast royal march along dignified destiny of the sovereign Kingdom. And therefore,  odds should not daunt our Prime Minister
especially when any PM of Bhutan could always have such reliable fall backs.

A plea to respected Cabinet and honourable MPs of Bhutanese Parliament. I believe that foreign Ambassadors even those of most friendly nations Bangladesh and India cannot lecture the people of Bhutan in public into joining BBIN. The Royal Government could not prevent them from doing so. Now this time, I pray that the Parliament provide an appropriate response by soundly rejecting the BBIN Agreement in the Joint Session.

On BBIN Vote Day, may every MP of the Parliament place one hand on the heart that already belongs to Pelden Drukpa by oaths taken and press the vote button by the other hand. The resultant tally of votes "  Yes or No "  will cast the destiny of the nation. Lets hope each MP does not forfeit national respect and self soul for short term personal or Party political gains. Pelden Drukpa! Gyelo!   

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Memorial Chorten of HM King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

A tribute by HM Queen Phuentsho Choden Wangchuck to her son who illuminated a Kingdom in ways never could have been foreseen.

Creations: A new national capital. A new system of governance incorporating the active participation of people from grass root level and from religious institutions. Established the National Assembly, Royal Advisory Council, Judiciary and Defence Forces, Cabinet and a young bureaucracy staffed by a fledging national civil service cadre. A seat in the United Nations. A path to the 21st Century. Empowerment of all class of subjects: men, women, serfs as equal citizens with equal rights. 

A simple and very confident King with immense intellectual capacity, compassion and courage. A King who even  in 1952 could fortell and accordingly shaped what Bhutan should be in the 21st century. A King who could comprehend the need and the impact of modern education for the young generations. A King who underdstood the unifying impact of a common national language and developed Dzongkhag. A pioneer of justice who shouldered the onerous task of drafting  the Laws of the Land " Thrim-Zhung- Chhenmo " mainly during the wee hours of the night,  " the only time he could truly claim as his own " he said. This Mother of all Laws was debated and  passed by the National Assembly.  

A King who laid the  foundations of Judiciary, education, health, roads and communications, industries, trade, foreign relations and even laid the ground rules of low volume high quality tourism policy. A King  who attuned religious institions to meet modern challenges, institutionalised the development and preservation of ancient arts and crafts, culture and tradition. A King who declared , " would rule as a sovereign King or not at all "  as he called upon his male subjects 15 years and above to defend the sovereignty of the Bhutanese Kingdom during those tumultuous years in the Himalayan region.

A King who knew the sunset time of his own reign and diligently in a very short span of time (18 months or so ) prepared the very young Crown Prince for succession. I remember that winter evening at Motithang Hotel when His Majesty expressed his anxiety about the  generation gap. The King said,  " We are aging fast and you all are too young and preoccupied with academic studies".  I was just a high school student and class-mate of the Crown Prince and could only  humbly submit that , " maybe the Crown Prince could be simultaneously engaged in national administration affairs. For a Leader, among all studies the most crucial was the art of managing people and that was not available in text books". 

A year and half later, on 22nd July, 1972, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck passed away. The Speaker of the National Assembly mourned, " darkness has fallen at midday upon the Kingdom ". Thankfully that darkness possessed a young glow at its depth. For by then the young Crown Prince as Chairman of Planning Commission had in his mind the road map of his Kingdom and in his heart the knowledge of each of the Cabinet Ministers and many other officials including important Indian leaders. And the succession to the Dragon Throne had already been formalised with the Crown Prince installed as the Trongsa Penlop.

Every time I drive past the Memorial Chorten. I thank the stars for the brief personal glimpses into the universe that His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Haa Dzongkhag stood alone.

Sometime back, I came across a fb post about a study conducted in Bhutan that concluded that Haa Dzongkhag stood first in dedication to Tsawa Sum. I felt proud but was also a little anxious. I believe that majority of Bhutanese have to be equally dedicated to Tsawa Sum and probably are. If only Haaps, the nation does have a huge problem to overcome.

This morning I came across a post shared by a fb friend ( PM visit to Bji Geog of Haa ). The content suddenly provided a pleasant relief to my anxiety. I now realise that the outcome of that study was probably based on two physical facts. Quite ironic!

1. The only Dzong in Bhutan surrendered to IMTRAT ( Indian Military ) is Haa Dzong. As contribution to defence of Bhutan?

2. The only Central School surrendered to Defence Forces of Bhutan is Haa Chhundu Central School. For enhancing national defence capability?

And ofcourse since 1959 with closure of Bhutan- China Tibet border, Haa lost her national number one trade route status. A huge economic sacrifice for the nation though who remembers such old facts. 

Thus whoever conducted that recent study must have drawn the conclusion based on above two physical evidences. So fellows, no one needs to be anxious or curious as to why Haa Dzongkhag was thought to be number one in dedication. I do not think another Dzongkhag would want to compete with Haa Dzongkhag by handing over their Dzong to Indian Military and Central School to our Defence Forces.

Keep your Dzongs and Central Schools. I believe all Dzongkhags are equally dedicated to Tsawa Sum with or without Dzongs and Central Schools.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Can Bhutan differentiate between living culture and fear culture.

Analysis of continuing Thimphu Thromde dictate against wearing tracksuits by students on games day:  

1. A tell tale of a nation in confidence distress and therefore enforcing mass submission through culture whips.

2. Gho and Kira our cherished living heritage converted to uniform of political  slavery. 

3. A confirmation that elected and  appointed leaders when intellectually bankrupt will be out to curtail the society. Not lead the nation. Happens anywhere and happening in Bhutan.

4. Cultural bigots managing to cause social crevices even in a tiny nation. Promoting clone population cast in gho and kira.

Appeals:

1. Do not impose policies that create lame and systematized youth population who maybe easy to control but devoid of initiatives to build the nation.

2. Please save the youth ! Stop decimation  of youth who are the foundation of healthy Bhutanese nation.

3. Thoughtful and concerned citizens must   pray for Cabinet intervention or a lightening from blue sky to spark national forward spirit. We need to do away with the cultural witch- hunt and cultural rigidity.   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What smooth flow of traffic means in Bhutan.

Yesterday I posted a comment on traffic direction and deflection. And came across two views of young people. One felt all should be equally inconvenienced without partiality and another felt people should plan ahead. It seems they were born after 1970s and therefore unaware of national philosophy on normal life and normal traffic flow. In case some are interested let me share what I learnt over the years.

At one time even Ministers had pilots in Thimphu and sirens were used to announce VIP convoy. Then sometime in mid 1970s His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck decided to discard the use of pilot and that decision made other Ministers follow suit. His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck ever the epitome of simplicity never liked the sound of pilot siren and gradually His Majesty would not permit the pilot ahead of his car to even honk to seek right of way.

That is how important to the nation to preserve normal flow of life and traffic in the capital city of Bhutan where all VVIP and VIP live and also visit. I am sure this national philosophy must have been passed down through the traffic managers and coordinators at Royal Bhutan Police. The general public even seniors, I doubt, even noted such noble gesture and essence let alone younger generation ever comprehending such art of nation living.

The goal and objective of planning and coordinating traffic flow especially during emergencies and VVIP visit has to be, minimum disruption to normal way of life and flow of traffic and maximum convenience and security for the convoy of visiting VVIP or most easy way of tackling emergencies. If the goal was to forget all else but concentrating 100 % on tackling emergencies or only securing undisturbed convoy passage then easiest would be to declare no motor traffic day. That way everyone would be equally stranded at home or wayside and young people's thoughts of impartiality and planning for the day would be fulfilled.

The most important national philosophy that His Majesty the Fourth King pursued was no matter what,  Normal National Life Must Flow . People should read between the lines of the royal statements made even at the height of problems in the South. Students must stay in school and continue studying ; business people must continue the activities of commerce. The King did not ask all to drop everything and take up arms. Many leaders may have done just that and I do not fault them for their limitations. But for His Majesty the Triple Gem King, the greatest task of a leader was to protect the normal flow of national life,  come what may. Unfortunately very few new democratic leaders care to uphold this greatest goal of nation administration.

And I doubt even at RIGSS, any Speaker had as yet conveyed this main essence of national life and living as pursued by our Monarchs. People jump to declare how noble the Kings are but most never even cared to understand the essence of nobleness of our Kings. For many it's just a chorus they want to be seen acclaimng  publicly.  

Many components of new laws and rules only portray hardliners way of governing the nation ( recent examples: exhorbitant penalties and unnecessary prohibitions  like sport wear ( track suit ) in schools and over Nu:1000 penalty for failing to slow down at zebra crossing ). Laws and Rules are necessary but need to be tampered with common sense to protect essence of national life and living. Heavy fines that call for hammer to kill flies and stupidly adopted cruel rules that demonise self expressions and general convenience only sow seed of social oppression and animosity. As in even  flow of normal traffic so highly valued by the King so must Governments value the essence of national flow of life and living.