Many wise words were spoken by late Lyonpo Dawa Tsering. His Excellency was the Foreign Minister of Bhutan for nearly three decades. A learned leader who encompassed qualities of much intelligence and stately adroitness. I particularly recall his explanatory submission as Foreign Minister to the honourable members of the National Assembly of Bhutan who were perplexed and frustrated by many unfriendly acts of the Government of India under Emergency Rule (1975 to 1977). His Excellency said that when an authoritarian Government is in power, that nation also tends to adopt an overbearing attitude towards the weaker neighbours. Bhutan must exercise political skill and fortitude. How so very true! May His Excellency rest in Peace.
Fortunately, by the infinite Grace of our Deities, the leadership our Great 4th King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and wise counsels, Bhutan warded off the fate that befell upon Sikkim just before Emergency rule in India. It was closer than a dangerous state of affairs. I think His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk had an apt description of that state in the 1970s during the public constitutional consultations in 2007. The King put it as , " like a leaf tossing on a swollen river ". His Majesty who was not born then, must have learned of the crisis of the 1970s from his illustrious father.
India is once again ready to flex her national muscle in the region. And each time that happens, the testing guinea pig is Bhutan. This is what happened at Doklam.The NDA Government headed by BJP is at its zenith of power in India. The Indian Prime Minister His Excellency Narendra Modi is sweeping the whole of India under his charismatic personality backed by the Merlin type of political wizard Shri Amit Shah. The combination of the two is recording astonishing political history in India. To the historians later, it might be a period of dusk black or dust gold.
This time India decided Doklam as a pretext to declare Bhutan a "Protectorate state" and attempted to establish complete hegemony over our Kingdom. China was not the ultimate objective of Indian military adventurism at Doklam. It was Bhutan. Fortunately, China stood firmly against Bhutan being converted into solely an Indian buffer cushion and protectorate state. Thus when so definitely and decisively confronted by China, India had to decide to withdraw and await perhaps another favourable day to overwhelm Bhutan.
In public domain, Bhutan stood stoically silent this time. The behind the scene had to be rather frenzy. Our Kings ( both the Majestic Son and the Father ) had to be engaged in some feverish survival diplomacy whilst our Monastic institutions were in deep Prayers. The two Royal and Spiritual Institutions together are responsible for peace, happiness and security of Bhutan and her people. The democratic Government main task is to implement successfully the 5 year development plans and ensure economic prosperity and fair governance.
The Indian Army withdrawl has be done in an acceptable public drama so as to freeze verbal attacks by the Oppositions in the Indian Parliament. So Indian Army plans to withdraw on the basis of Bhutan Army taking over their role. But on the ground, it is not possible for Bhutan Army to replace transgressing Indian troops on Chinese controlled Doklam. Further, to even theoretically agree, is placing Bhutanese sovereignty in grave future danger. As that will make it appear that India secured an area at Doklam for Bhutan. An act of what India claims protecting Bhutanese territory from China.
My humble advice to India is to withdraw and acclaim publicly that Bhutanese Army is taking over the role. And Bhutan continue her public silence. China would be happy with the retreat. And no one is going to be wiser at the ground level. Remote Doklam is away from prying eyes. It is two days hard trek through mountain ravines from the motorable road point on Bhutan side. In hindsight, if only China so generously continued the road extension into our land for our use.
The true political picture is that Bhutanese land is not needed to be protected by a third power and India winds up her adventurism of the century. This time, Bhutan retains her status quo of a sovereign Kingdom. May the people of Bhutan, China and India be blessed with compassionate and sensible leaders though not necessarily in alphabetical order as I try to maintain fairness.
Many years after Emergency Rule in India, when Her Excellency Indra Gandhi was shot down by her security guard, an Indian Army General was supposed to have exclaimed, " how bloody lucky for Bhutan ". So it's possible that such scheming Indian leaders do not give up easily upon clutching Bhutan in their claws. Still I do not wish them the fate of India Indra. But for Bhutan, I pray that the our omniscient powerful Deities keep under the radar of their thunder bolts those who pose danger upon the " Land of Pelden Drukpa."
Pelden Drukpai Lha Gyel Lo !