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        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Bhutan

Our goal was simple – to better understand ourselves, to become more effective storytellers and to appreciate Bhutan’s unique culture, values and approach to wellbeing. This would play out across a country, described as a hermit kingdom, sandwiched between two emerging global superpowers in China and India.

 

A decade after Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy, the tiny Himalayan country has charted its independent foreign policy vis-a-vis South Asia. Thimphu has made it pretty obvious that its dealings are no longer tied to India’s coat-tails... as they used to be during the long period of its status as a protectorate. Another critical feature is the role of Bhutan’s Parliament, and not the wishes -- often overbearing -- of South Block.

 
While both Himalayan states functioned in a complete autonomous (and often reclusive) manner for centuries, Tibet became a colony of China in 1950. One question comes immediately to mind: how did Bhutan manage to keep its 'independence'?  
 

When it comes to earthquakes, the kingdom of Bhutan is an anomaly. Despite being surrounded by countries regularly shaken by seismic activity, the small kingdom—nestled between India and China—has been seemingly free of large temblors over the last 500 years. Now, by piecing together historical and tectonic records, an international collaboration of European and Bhutanese researchers says it has solved the mystery.

 

In an effort to provide a healthier environment for those living in the Olakha automobile workshop area, the government will invest at least Nu 12M to improve the area.

 

Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom, is a pioneer when it comes to protecting its environment. A country with a negative carbon footprint, which also is a carbon sinkhole, Bhutan’s constitution explicitly mentions that no less than 60 per cent of Bhutan must always remain forested.

 

It is the only country in the world that is carbon negative, which means it produces more oxygen than it consumes. Bhutan generates about 2.2 million tonnes of carbon annually, yet its forests absorb three times this amount, which creates a carbon sink.

 

Bhutan is the world’s biggest creator of refugees by per capita. In one fell swoop in the 1990s, the country expelled the Lhotshampa, an ethnic group with its origins in Nepal which made up one-sixth of Bhutan’s population, to preserve its unique national identity. More than 20 years on, thousands still remain in camps in Nepal, lost in their own country. This is at stark contrast with the idyllic and homely image Bhutan has carefully curated for itself. As the world looks on at Syria and the deepening migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and concern grows, Bhutan attracts little attention. But as the world finally wakes up to the plight of refugees, it is important that one of the largest refugee populations in South Asia is not forgotten.

 
In recognition for the commitment and efforts made by the health ministry to have successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region (SEAR) awarded a certificate of appreciation to Bhutan on September 6.  
 

Bhutanese journalist Namgay Zam is facing defamation charges over a Facebook post, marking the first time that anyone in the Himalayan country has been taken to court over their social media activities.

 


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