Foreign relations of Bhutan


Foreign relations of Bhutan
Bhutan

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Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 25 states, and with the European Union.[1]

In 1971, sponsored by India, Bhutan began to develop its foreign relations by joining the UN, though it has no diplomatic relations with any of the permanent members on the UN Security Council. In 1981, Bhutan joined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, followed by the World Health Organization and UNESCO in 1982. It is also an active member of SAARC. Bhutan is currently a member of 45 international organizations.[2]

Under Article 20 of the Constitution of Bhutan enacted in 2008, Bhutan's foreign relations fall under the purview of the Druk Gyalpo on the advice of the Executive, namely the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the Lhengye Zhungtshog including the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[3]

Contents

India

Historically, ties with India have been close. Both countries signed a first ever Friendship treaty in 1865 between Bhutan and British India. However, when Bhutan became a monarchy, British India was the first country to recognize it and renewed the treaty in 1910. Bhutan was the first country to recognize Indian independence and renewed the age old treaty with the new government in 1949, including a clause that India would assist Bhutan in foreign relations. On February 8, 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty[4] was substantially revised under the Bhutanese King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. In the Treaty of 1949 Article 2 read as "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations."[5] In the revised treaty this now reads as, "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes in it the preamble "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 strengthens Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

There also exists bi-lateral agreement between Bhutanese and Indian Government where-in citizens of both nations can travel freely in other country without passport and visa.

People's Republic of China

Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with its northern neighbor, the People's Republic of China. The border between Bhutan and China has been closed since the invasion of Tibet in 1959, causing an influx of refugees. The border also remains undelineated; in 1961 China published a map that altered the traditional border. Tensions have since lessened, especially after the signing of a 1998 agreement on border peace and tranquility, the first bilateral agreement between China and Bhutan. Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations, Bhutan has also maintained an Honorary Consul in Macau since 2000 and Hong Kong since 2004.

In late 2005, Bhutan claimed that Chinese soldiers were building roads and bridges within Bhutanese territory. Bhutanese Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk took up the matter with Chinese authorities after the issue was raised in the Bhutanese parliament. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang of the People's Republic of China has said that the border remains in dispute and that the two sides are continuing to work for a peaceful and cordial resolution of the dispute.[6] The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border.[7]

Nepal

Nepal and Bhutan established relations in 1983. However since 1992, relations with Nepal have been tense due to the repatriation of refugees from Bhutan.[8]

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of only two nations (the other is India) to have a residential embassy in Bhutan. The relationship between Bhutan and Bangladesh has always been positive since 1971 when the Bhutan became the first country to recognize Bangladesh after it gained independence from Pakistan. Both Bhutan and Nepal see Bangladesh as a means to access the ocean and an opportunity to lessen dependence on India and China.

Other countries

Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with nine European nations: Austria; Belgium; Denmark; Finland; the Netherlands; Norway; Spain (with whom it established relations in February 2011[9]); Sweden; and Switzerland, which form the "Friends of Bhutan" group, along with Japan, which contributes towards development projects in Bhutan.

In addition to Bangladesh, India, Japan and Nepal, Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with nine other Asian nations: Afghanistan; Bahrain; Kuwait; the Maldives; Pakistan; Singapore; South Korea; Sri Lanka; and Thailand, as well as with Australia, Brazil and Canada. Other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have no formal diplomatic relations with Bhutan, but maintain informal contact through their respective embassies in New Delhi and Bhutanese honorary consulates in London and Washington, D.C.[10]

Transnational issues

Bhutan has relations with other nations based on transnational issues. Among these issues are extradition, terrorism, and refugees. To a limited extent, Bhutanese law provides frameworks for cooperation with countries with which Bhutan has no formal mission.

Extradition

Bhutan has a legislated policy on extradition of criminals, both to and from the kingdom. Any nation, with or without formal relations, may request the extradition of fugitives who abscond to Bhutan. The Extradition Act requires nations to provide "all relevant evidence and information" about the accused, after which the Royal Government may in its discretion refer the matter to the High Court of Bhutan. The Court may then issue a summons or warrant, conduct an inquiry, and collect evidence, holding the accused for a maximum of 30 days. Alternatively, the Royal Government may refer the matter to the courts for trial within Bhutan. Bhutan imposes punishments for offenses committed in treaty states generally, and for offenses in other states resulting in return to Bhutan. Offenses are weighed according to gravity, determined by a schedule and two-part test: extraditable offenses are those enumerated (including murder, theft, forgery, and smuggling), or which in Bhutan would be punished by a prison term exceeding twelve months.[11] All felonies in Bhutan are punishable by a minimum of three years' imprisonment.[12]

Bhutan will refuse requests for extradition if the Royal Government or its courts determine the person is accused of a political offense.[11]

International terrorism

Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lie in Bhutan's northwest and along the Chumbi salient.

Refugee resettlement

The U.S. has offered to resettle 60,000 of the 107,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese origin now living in seven U.N. refugee camps in southeastern Nepal. Six other nations—Australia, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand and Denmark—have offered to resettle 10,000 each.[13]

Other countries also operate resettlement programs in the camps.[14] Norway has already settled 200 Bhutanese refugees, and Canada has agreed to accept up to 5,000 through to 2012.[15]

Diplomatic relations and missions

COUNTRY YEAR RELATIONS
ESTABLISHED[16]
MISSION TO BHUTAN LOCATION MISSION OF BHUTAN LOCATION NOTES
Afghanistan
2010
Yes
[17]
Australia
2002
Yes
New Delhi[18]
Yes
Bangkok[19]
Austria
1989
Yes
New Delhi[21]
Yes
Geneva[22]
  • The ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations in Geneva is accredited to Austria.[22]
  • The ambassador of the Austrian Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.[21]
  • The Austrian Development Agency maintains an office in Thimphu.[23]
Bahrain
1992
Yes
Kuwait City[24]
  • The ambassador the Bhutanese Embassy in Kuwait is accredited to Bahrain.[24]
Bangladesh
1973
Yes
Thimphu[25]
Yes
Dhaka[17]
Belgium
2009
Yes
Brussels[17]
Brazil
2009[26]
Yes
Canada
2003
Yes
New Delhi[27]
Yes
New York City[28]
Cuba
2011[30]
Denmark
1985
Yes
New Delhi[31]
Yes
Brussels
European Union
1985
Yes
New Delhi[32]
Yes
Brussels
  • The ambassador of the Embassy of Bhutan to Belgium in Brussels is accredited to the EU and the European Commission.
  • The ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.[32]
Finland
1986
Yes
New Delhi[33]
Yes
Brussels
  • The ambassador of the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.[33]
  • The ambassador of the Embassy of Bhutan to Belgium in Brussels is accredited to Finland.
India
1968
Yes
Thimphu[34]
Yes
New Delhi[17]
  • India also maintains a consulate-general in Phuntsholing which was upgraded from a representative office on 17 February 2007.[35]
Japan
1986
Yes
New Delhi[36]
Kuwait
1983
Yes
Thimphu
Yes
Kuwait City[17]
Maldives
1984
Yes
Dhaka[39]
  • The ambassador of Bhutanese Embassy in Dhaka is accredited to Maldives.[39]
Nepal
1983
Yes
New Delhi[40]
Yes
New Delhi[41]
  • The ambassador of the Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Nepal.[41]
  • The ambassador of the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.[40]
Netherlands
1985
Yes
New Delhi[42]
Yes
Brussels
  • The ambassador of the Embassy of Bhutan to Belgium in Brussels is accredited to the Netherlands.
  • The ambassador of the Dutch Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.[42]
  • The Netherlands Development Organisation has an office in Thimphu,[43] which acts as an honorary consulate.[44]
Norway
1985
Yes
New Delhi[45]
Yes
Geneva[46]
Pakistan
1988
South Korea
1987
Yes
New Delhi[47]
Singapore
2002
Yes
New Delhi[49]
Yes
Bangkok[50]
Spain
2011
Yes
New Delhi
Sri Lanka
1987
Yes
New Delhi[51]
Yes
Dhaka[39]
Sweden
1985
Yes
New Delhi[52]
Yes
Geneva[53]
Switzerland
1985
Yes
New Delhi[54]
Yes
Geneva[17]
Thailand
1989
Yes
Bangkok[17]
  • Thailand has an honorary consulate in Thimphu.[57]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Bhutan Bilateral relations Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and Establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Kingdom of Spain Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, 11 February 2011
  2. ^ "Foreign Relation and Trade". Bhutan Portal online. Government of Bhutan. http://www.bhutan.gov.bt/government/abt_foreign.php. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  3. ^ "Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan (English)" (PDF). Government of Bhutan. 2008-07-18. http://www.constitution.bt/TsaThrim%20Eng%20(A5).pdf. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  4. ^ "Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty" (PDF). Government of India. http://www.mea.gov.in/pressrelease/2007/03/treaty.pdf. 
  5. ^ "Treaty of 1949". Government of India. 1949. http://mea.gov.in/treatiesagreement/1949/chap26.htm. 
  6. ^ "中国不丹同意平等友好协商早日解决边界问题 [China and Bhutan agree to equal and friendly consultations to resolve the border issue as soon as possible]". China.com News. 2005-12-01. http://news.china.com/zh_cn/domestic/945/20051201/12906175.html. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  7. ^ Hindustan times article[dead link]
  8. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies document "Nepal".
  9. ^ Dorji, Gyalsten K (2011-02-15). "Bhutan establishes ties with Spain". Kuensel. http://www.kuenselonline.com/2010/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=18408. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  10. ^ "Overseas Embassies and Consulates of Bhutan". Go Abroad.com. http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Bhutan#18596. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  11. ^ a b "Extradition Act, 1989 (1991)" (PDF). Government of Bhutan. 1991. http://oag.gov.bt/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Extradiction-Act-of-Bhutan-1991-English.pdf. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  12. ^ "Penal Code of Bhutan" (PDF). Government of Bhutan. 2004-08-11. http://www.nationalcouncil.bt/images/stories/PCode_En_04.pdf. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  13. ^ "First of 60,000 refugees from Bhutan arrive in U.S.". CNN. 25 March 2008. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/25/bhutan.refugees/. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  14. ^ IRIN (10 November 2008). "Nepal: Bhutanese refugees find new life beyond the camps". UNHCR Refworld. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,IRIN,,BTN,491946b81e,0.html. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  15. ^ Government of Canada (9 December 2008). "Resettling Bhutanese Refugees – Update on Canada’s Commitment". Citizenship and Immigration Canada. http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/refugees/outside/bhutanese.asp. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  16. ^ "Bhutan's bilateral counterparts". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bhutan). http://www.mfa.gov.bt/index.php?categoryid=82. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "Embassies and missions". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bhutan). http://www.mfa.gov.bt/index.php?categoryid=77. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  18. ^ a b "Bhutan Country Brief - August 2008". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/bhutan/bhutan_country_brief.html. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  19. ^ a b "The Diplomatic List and List of Representatives of International Organisations". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 2008-07-18. http://web.archive.org/web/20080718175038/http://www.info.dfat.gov.au/Info/WebProtocol/WebProtocol.nsf/WebIDs/B5A64B02D6D718C6CA256E6C002998BF/$file/diplist.doc. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  20. ^ a b c "Honorary consulates". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bhutan). http://www.mfa.gov.bt/index.php?categoryid=99. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  21. ^ a b (German) "Austrian Representations - India". Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (Austria). http://www.bmeia.gv.at/en/foreign-ministry/service/austrian-representations-in-german.html?dv_staat=61&cHash=21b2eef97c#New%20Delhi. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  22. ^ a b (German) "Verzeichnis des diplomatischen Korps und anderer Vertretungen in Österreich" (PDF). Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (Austria). http://www.bmeia.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/oracle/gesamtliste_de.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  23. ^ "ADC Coordination offices". Austrian Development Agency. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20080801074012/http://www.ada.gv.at/en/the-ada/organisation/adc-coordination-offices.html. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  24. ^ a b "Foreign Minister Receives A Copy Of Credentials Of New Four Ambassadors" (Press release). Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bahrain). 29 May 2008. http://www.mofa.gov.bh/MOFA/En/News/newsm-29-05-08-e.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  25. ^ "Embassy of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Thimphu". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bangladesh). http://www.mofa.gov.bd/lbra/bhutan.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-06. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Bhutan establishes diplomatic relations with Brazil". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bhutan). http://www.mfa.gov.bt/press-releases/bhutan-establishes-diplomatic-relations-with-brazil.html. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  27. ^ a b "Canada-Bhutan Relations". Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. http://geo.international.gc.ca/asia/new-delhi/geo/bhutan-bb-en.aspx. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  28. ^ a b "Heads of Missions". Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. http://w01.international.gc.ca/Protocol/main-en.asp?sScreen=Heads+of+Missions. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  29. ^ "History of CCO". Canadian Cooperation Office. http://www.cco.org.bt/cco/canadabhutan.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  30. ^ "Cuba and Bhutan settled Diplomatic Relations". Cuba Headlines. http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2011/09/29/33972/cuba_and_bhutan_settled_diplomatic_relations.html. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  31. ^ "Message from Ambassador". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark). http://www.ambnewdelhi.um.dk/en/servicemenu/Contact/MessageFromAmbassador/. Retrieved 2008-08-06. [dead link]
  32. ^ a b "India, New Delhi". European Commission. http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/repdel/edelhrm/index.cfm?fuseaction=cRepDel.print_fiche&ToSearchDelegations=28&ToSearchTypeDelegations=-1,5,15,16,17,23,24,25,26&lang=EN&TYPETELECOM_PRINCIPALE=0&PERSONNEL_HEAD_OF_DELEGATION=10. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  33. ^ a b "Finland's Embassy, New Delhi". Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Finland). http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?nodeid=16595&culture=en-US&contentlan=2. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  34. ^ "Embassy of India, Thimphu". Embassy of India in Thimphu. http://www.indianembassythimphu.bt/. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  35. ^ "Consulate General of India,Phuentsholing, Bhutan". Embassy of India in Thimphu. http://www.indianembassythimphu.bt/embassy_Laison.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  36. ^ a b "Embassy Addresses - Asia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan). http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/over/asia.html. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  37. ^ "List of Embassies and Consulates-General of Japan (A to H)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs online. Government of Japan. http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/protocol/a-h.html#B. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  38. ^ "Bhutan". Japan International Cooperation Agency. http://www.jica.go.jp/bhutan/. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  39. ^ a b c d ".". Kuensel. 31 March 2008. http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=10116. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  40. ^ a b "Concurrent Accreditations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Nepal). Archived from the original on 2008-05-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20080529145127/http://www.mofa.gov.np/accreditations.php. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  41. ^ a b "Nepal-Bhutan relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Nepal). http://www.mofa.gov.np/bilateral/nepal-bhutan.php. Retrieved 2008-08-07. [dead link]
  42. ^ a b "Welcome to the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in New Delhi, India". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands). http://india.nlembassy.org/homepage. Retrieved 2008-08-07. [dead link]
  43. ^ "Welcome to SNV Bhutan". Netherlands Development Organisation. http://www.snv.org.bt/. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  44. ^ "“Dutch-Bhutan relations have become more diverse”". Kuensel. 5 May 2008. http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=10330. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  45. ^ a b "Welcome to the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi". Embassy of Norway in New Delhi. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. http://web.archive.org/web/20080731175139/http://www.norwayemb.org.in/info/Embassy.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  46. ^ a b "Oslo Diplomatic List" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Norway). http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/Protokoll/odl080613.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-07. [dead link]
  47. ^ a b "Press Release" (Press release). Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bhutan). 5 July 2007. http://www.mfa.gov.bt/index.php?categoryid=85&p2_articleid=28. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  48. ^ Choden, Phuntsho (2007-05-05). "Kutshab to join BPUP". Kuensel. http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=8404. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  49. ^ a b "Embassy of the Republic of Singapore - Bhutan". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore). http://shinedom1.internet.gov.sg/mfa/dipCon/dipCon.nsf/SMDetailsAgent?OpenAgent&id=82. Retrieved 2008-08-07. [dead link]
  50. ^ a b "Bhutan". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore). http://shinedom1.internet.gov.sg/mfa/dipCon/dipCon.nsf/FMDetailsAgent?OpenAgent&id=146. Retrieved 2008-08-07. [dead link]
  51. ^ a b "High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka , New Delhi , India". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sri Lanka). http://www.slmfa.gov.lk//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=364&Itemid=83. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  52. ^ a b "About the Embassy". Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi. http://www.swedenabroad.com/Page____21587.aspx. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  53. ^ a b "The Stockholm Diplomatic List, June 2008". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sweden). http://www.sweden.gov.se/download/be284a3c.pdf?major=1&minor=24515&cn=attachmentPublDuplicator_0_attachment. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  54. ^ a b "Swiss representation: Bhutan". Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland). http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/asia/vbtn/afobut.html. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  55. ^ "Representations in Switzerland". Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland). http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/asia/vbtn/achbut.html. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  56. ^ "Helvetas Bhutan". Helvetas Bhutan. http://www.helvetas.org.bt/. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  57. ^ "About the consulate". Royal Thai Consulate in Thimphu. http://www.rtcobhutan.com/theconsulate.html. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).

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