South Asia :: Bhutan

Introduction ::Bhutan

    In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land to British India. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs, and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned to Bhutan the areas annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which introduced major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, in order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions in this area with New Delhi. Elections for seating the country's first parliament were completed in March 2008; the king ratified the country's first constitution in July 2008. The disposition of some 43,000 Bhutanese refugees - housed in two UN refugee camps in Nepal - remains unresolved.

Geography ::Bhutan

People and Society ::Bhutan

Government ::Bhutan

    conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
    conventional short form: Bhutan
    local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
    local short form: Druk Yul
    constitutional monarchy
    name: Thimphu
    geographic coordinates: 27 28 N, 89 38 E
    time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Gasa, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
    1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
    National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
    ratified 18 July 2008
    civil law based on Buddhist religious law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him; the nearly two-year delay between the former King's abdication and his son's coronation on 6 November 2008 was to ensure an astrologically auspicious coronation date and to give the new king, who had limited experience, deeper administrative expertise under the guidance of his father
    head of government: Prime Minister Tshering TOBGAY (since July 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Zhungtshog) nominated by the monarch in consultation with the prime minister and approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; the leader of the majority party is nominated as the prime minister
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    elections: the monarchy is hereditary, but the 2008 constitution grants the Parliament authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote; election of a new National Assembly occurred in March 2008
    bicameral Parliament or Chi Tshog consists of the non-partisan National Council or Gyelyong Tshogde (25 seats; 20 members elected by each of the 20 administrative districts (dzongkhags) for four-year terms and 5 members appointed by the king); and the National Assembly or Tshogdu (47 seats; members nominated by the two parties and elected by direct, popular vote for five-year terms)
    elections: National Council elections last held on 23 April 2013 (next to be held in 2017); National Assembly elections (first round) last held on 31 May 2013; second round held on 13 July 2013
    election results: National Council - independents 20; note - all candidates ran as independents; National Assembly - first round poll held on 31 May 2013 - percent of vote by party - DPT 44.52%; PDP 32.53%; DNT 17.04%; DCT 5.9%; second round poll held on 13 July 2013 - percent of vote by party - PDP 54.88%, DPT 45.12%; seats by party - PDP 32, DPT 15
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices including the chief justice )
    note - the Supreme Court has sole jurisdiction in constitutional matters
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the monarch in consultation with the National Judicial Commission; other judges appointed by the monarch from among the High Court judges selected by the National Judicial Commission; judge tenure NA
    subordinate courts: High Court (first appellate court); District or Dzongkhag Courts; sub-district or Dungkhag Courts
    Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY]; Druk Nymrub Tshogpa or DNT; Druck Chirwang Tshogpa or DCT
    United Front for Democracy (exiled); Druk National Congress (exiled)
    other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community
    ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Lhatu WANGCHUK; address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
    consulate(s) general: New York
    the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
    divided diagonally from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange; centered along the dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from the hoist side; the dragon, called the Druk (Thunder Dragon), is the emblem of the nation; its white color stands for purity and the jewels in its claws symbolize wealth; the background colors represent spiritual and secular powers within Bhutan: the orange is associated with Buddhism, while the yellow denotes the ruling dynasty
    thunder dragon known as Druk
    name: "Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
    lyrics/music: Gyaldun Dasho Thinley DORJI/Aku TONGMI
    note: adopted 1953

Economy ::Bhutan

    Bhutan's economy, small and less developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 40% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and is dependent on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government''s desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. The import of equipment and fuel to build hydropower plants is leading to large trade and current account deficits, though new hydropower projects and electricity exports to India are creating employment and will probably sustain growth in the coming years. GDP has rebounded strongly since the global recession began in 2008.
    $5.036 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    $4.591 billion (2011 est.)
    $4.23 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $2.196 billion (2012 est.)
    9.7% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    8.5% (2011 est.)
    11.7% (2010 est.)
    $6,800 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    $6,200 (2011 est.)
    $5,800 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    household consumption: 36.3%
    government consumption: 22.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 63.6%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 37.4%
    imports of goods and services: -59.9%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 16.7%
    industry: 45.4%
    services: 37.9% (2011 est.)
    rice, corn, root crops, citrus; dairy products, eggs
    cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
    country comparison to the world: 165
    note: major shortage of skilled labor (2008)
    agriculture: 43.7%
    industry: 39.1%
    services: 17.2% (2004 est.)
    4% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    2.5% (2004)
    23.2% (2008)
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 37.6% (2003)
    revenues: $615.7 million
    expenditures: $651.2 million
    note: the government of India finances nearly one-quarter of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2012 est.)
    28% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    -1.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    64% of GDP (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    55% of GDP (2010 est.)
    1 July - 30 June
    10.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    8.8% (2011 est.)
    14% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    14.16% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $191.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    $623.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.018 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    $1.16 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $788.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    $747.5 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    -$312.1 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    -$354.9 million (2010 est.)
    $721.8 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    $662.2 million (2011 est.)
    electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, calcium carbide, copper wire, manganese, vegetable oil
    $1.28 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    $1.185 billion (2011 est.)
    fuel and lubricants, passenger cars, machinery and parts, fabrics, rice
    $1.275 billion (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    $836 million (2009)
    ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar -
    53.437 (2012 est.)
    46.67 (2011 est.)
    45.73 (2010 est.)
    46.68 (2009 est.)
    43.51 (2008 est.)

Energy ::Bhutan

Communications ::Bhutan

    27,500 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    484,200 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services
    domestic: low teledensity; domestic service is poor especially in rural areas; mobile-cellular service, started in 2003, is now widely available
    international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2012)
    state-owned TV station established in 1999; cable TV service offers dozens of Indian and other international channels; first radio station, privately launched in 1973, is now state-owned; 5 private radio stations are currently broadcasting (2012)
    14,590 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    50,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 174

Transportation ::Bhutan

Military ::Bhutan

Transnational Issues ::Bhutan

    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