South Asia :: Bhutan
  • Introduction :: Bhutan
  • Background:

    Following Britain’s victory in the 1865 Duar War, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding land to British India. Ugyen WANGCHUCK - who had served as the de facto ruler of an increasingly unified Bhutan and had improved relations with the British toward the end of the 19th century - was named king 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. Bhutan negotiated a similar arrangement with independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned to Bhutan a small piece of the territory annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. Under a succession of modernizing monarchs beginning in the 1950s, Bhutan joined the UN in 1971 and slowly continued its engagement beyond its borders.

    In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which introduced major democratic reforms - and held a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty, eliminating the clause that stated that Bhutan would be "guided by" India in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate closely 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. Bhutan experienced a peaceful turnover of power following parliamentary elections in 2013, which resulted in the defeat of the incumbent party. The disposition of some 8,500 refugees of the more than 100,000 who fled or were forced out of Bhutan in the 1990s - and who are housed in two UN refugee camps in Nepal - remains unresolved.

  • Geography :: Bhutan
  • Location:
    Southern Asia, between China and India
    Geographic coordinates:
    27 30 N, 90 30 E
    Map references:
    Asia
    Area:
    total: 38,394 sq km
    land: 38,394 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 137
    Area - comparative:
    slightly larger than Maryland; about one-half the size of Indiana
    Land boundaries:
    total: 1,136 km
    border countries (2): China 477 km, India 659 km
    Coastline:
    0 km (landlocked)
    Maritime claims:
    none (landlocked)
    Climate:
    varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
    Terrain:
    mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
    Elevation:
    mean elevation: 2,220 m
    elevation extremes: 97 m lowest point: Drangeme Chhu
    7570 highest point: Gangkar Puensum
    Natural resources:
    timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 13.6% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 2.6% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 10.7% (2011 est.)
    forest: 85.5% (2011 est.)
    other: 0.9% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    320 sq km (2012)
    Natural hazards:
    violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's Bhutanese name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
    Environment - current issues:
    soil erosion; limited access to potable water; wildlife conservation; industrial pollution; waste disposal
    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    Geography - note:
    landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
  • People and Society :: Bhutan
  • Population:
    766,397 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Nationality:
    noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Bhutanese
    Ethnic groups:
    Ngalop (also known as Bhote) 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
    Languages:
    Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26% (includes foreign languages) (2005 est.)
    Religions:
    Lamaistic Buddhist 75.3%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 22.1%, other 2.6% (2005 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 25.35% (male 99,325 /female 94,985)
    15-24 years: 18.4% (male 71,790 /female 69,205)
    25-54 years: 43.73% (male 177,436 /female 157,729)
    55-64 years: 6.13% (male 25,160 /female 21,817)
    65 years and over: 6.39% (male 25,492 /female 23,458) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 47.3 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 40.4 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.9 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 14.5 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 28.1 years
    male: 28.6 years
    female: 27.6 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    Population growth rate:
    1.05% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    Birth rate:
    17 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Death rate:
    6.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    Net migration rate:
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 40.9% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 2.98% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    203,000 THIMPHU (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.14 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 1.16 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 1.1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate:
    148 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 30.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 30.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 30.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 71.1 years (2018 est.)
    male: 70.1 years (2018 est.)
    female: 72.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    Total fertility rate:
    1.87 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Contraceptive prevalence rate:
    65.6% (2010)
    Health expenditures:
    3.6% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Physicians density:
    0.38 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
    Hospital bed density:
    1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 77.9% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 33.1% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 50.4% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 22.1% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 66.9% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 49.6% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Major infectious diseases:
    degree of risk: high (2016)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2016)
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever (2016)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    6.4% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
    12.8% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    Education expenditures:
    7.4% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
    total population: 64.9% (2015 est.)
    male: 73.1% (2015 est.)
    female: 55% (2015 est.)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 13 years (2013)
    male: 12 years (2013)
    female: 13 years (2013)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 10.7% (2015 est.)
    male: 8.2% (2015 est.)
    female: 12.7% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
  • Government :: Bhutan
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
    conventional short form: Bhutan
    local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
    local short form: Druk Yul
    etymology: named after the Bhotia, the ethnic Tibetans who migrated from Tibet to Bhutan; "Bod" is the Tibetan name for their land; the Bhutanese name "Druk Yul" means "Land of the Thunder Dragon"
    Government type:
    constitutional monarchy
    Capital:
    name: Thimphu
    geographic coordinates: 27 28 N, 89 38 E
    time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Dagana, Gasa, Haa, Lhuentse, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatshel, Punakha, Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Sarpang, Thimphu, Trashigang, Trashi Yangtse, Trongsa, Tsirang, Wangdue Phodrang, Zhemgang
    Independence:
    17 December 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king); 8 August 1949 (Treaty of Friendship with India maintains Bhutanese independence)
    National holiday:
    National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
    Constitution:
    history: previous governing documents were various royal decrees; first constitution drafted November 2001 to March 2005, ratified 18 July 2008 (2017)
    amendments: proposed as a motion by simple majority vote in a joint session of Parliament; passage requires at least a three-fourths majority vote in a joint session of the next Parliament and assented to by the king; amended 2011 (2017)
    International law organization participation:
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Bhutan
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 to his son
    head of government: Prime Minister Tshering TOBGAY (since 27 July 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers or Lhengye Zhungtshog members nominated by the monarch in consultation with the prime minister and approved by the National Assembly; members serve 5-year terms
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary but can be removed by a two-third vote of Parliament; leader of the majority party in Parliament is nominated as the prime minister, appointed by the monarch
    Legislative branch:
    description: bicameral Parliament or Chi Tshog consists of:
    non-partisan National Council or Gyelyong Tshogde (25 seats; 20 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 5 members appointed by the king; members serve 5-year terms)
    National Assembly or Tshogdu (47 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections:
    National Council election last held on 20 April 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
    National Assembly - first round held on 15 September 2018 and second round held on 18 October 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
    election results:
    National Council - seats by party - independent 20 (all candidates ran as independents); composition - men 23, women 2, percent of women 8%
    National Assembly - first round - percent of vote by party - DNT 31.9%, DPT 30.9%, PDP 27.4%, BKP 9.8%; second round - percent of vote by party -  NA; seats by party - DNT 30, DPT 17; composition - men 40, women 7, percent of women 14.9%; note - total Parliament percent of women 12.5%
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: 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 upon the advice of the National Judicial Commission, a 4-member body to include the Legislative Committee of the National Assembly, the attorney general, the Chief Justice of Bhutan and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; other judges (drangpons) appointed by the monarch from among the High Court judges selected by the National Judicial Commission; chief justice serves a 5-year term or until reaching age 65 years, whichever is earlier; the 4 other judges serve 10-year terms or until age 65, whichever is earlier
    subordinate courts: High Court (first appellate court); District or Dzongkhag Courts; sub-district or Dungkhag Courts
    Political parties and leaders:
    Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party or BKP [Dasho Neten ZANGMO]
    Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Pema GYAMTSHO]
    Druk Chirwang Tshogpa or DCT [Lily WANGCHUK]
    Druk Nymarup Tshogpa or DNT [Tandin DORJI]
    People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY]
    International organization participation:
    ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    New York
    none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Donna TSHERING (since 13 September 2017); address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although frequent informal contact is maintained via the US embassy in New Delhi (India) and Bhutan's Permanent Mission to the UN
    Flag description:
    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
    National symbol(s):
    thunder dragon known as Druk Gyalpo; national colors: orange, yellow
    National anthem:
    name: "Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
    lyrics/music: Gyaldun Dasho Thinley DORJI/Aku TONGMI

    note: adopted 1953

  • Economy :: Bhutan
  • Economy - overview:

    Bhutan's small economy is based largely on hydropower, agriculture, and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than half the population. Because rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive, industrial production is primarily of the cottage industry type. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and is dependent on India for financial assistance and migrant laborers for development projects, especially for road construction. Bhutan signed a pact in December 2014 to expand duty-free trade with Bangladesh.

    Multilateral development organizations administer most educational, social, and environment programs, and take into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government is cautious in its expansion of the tourist sector, restricing visits to environmentally conscientious tourists. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.

    Bhutan’s largest export - hydropower to India - could spur sustainable growth in the coming years if Bhutan resolves chronic delays in construction. Bhutan’s hydropower exports comprise 40% of total exports and 25% of the government’s total revenue. Bhutan currently taps only 6.5% of its 24,000-megawatt hydropower potential and is behind schedule in building 12 new hydropower dams with a combined capacity of 10,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with a deal signed in 2008 with India. The high volume of imported materials to build hydropower plants has expanded Bhutan's trade and current account deficits. Bhutan also signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh and India in July 2017 to jointly construct a new hydropower plant for exporting electricity to Bangladesh.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $7.205 billion (2017 est.)
    $6.71 billion (2016 est.)
    $6.252 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 167
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $2.405 billion (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    7.4% (2017 est.)
    7.3% (2016 est.)
    6.2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $9,000 (2017 est.)
    $8,500 (2016 est.)
    $8,000 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 145
    Gross national saving:
    40.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    33.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    32% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 58% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 16.8% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 47.2% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 26% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -48% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 16.2% (2017 est.)
    industry: 41.8% (2017 est.)
    services: 42% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    rice, corn, root crops, citrus; dairy products, eggs
    Industries:
    cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
    Industrial production growth rate:
    6.3% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    Labor force:
    397,900 (2017 est.)

    note: major shortage of skilled labor

    country comparison to the world: 160
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 58%
    industry: 20%
    services: 22% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    3.2% (2017 est.)
    3.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Population below poverty line:
    12% (2012 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 30.6% (2012)
    highest 10%: 30.6% (2012)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index:
    38.8 (2012)
    38.1 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Budget:
    revenues: 655.3 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 737.4 million (2017 est.)

    note: the Government of India finances nearly one-quarter of Bhutan's budget expenditures

    Taxes and other revenues:
    27.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -3.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Public debt:
    106.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
    114.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    Fiscal year:
    1 July - 30 June
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    5.8% (2017 est.)
    7.6% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Central bank discount rate:
    6% (2017 est.)

    note: this is the policy rate of Bhutan's central bank

    country comparison to the world: 68
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    15% (31 December 2017 est.)
    14.15% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    Stock of narrow money:
    $993.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $769 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Stock of broad money:
    $993.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $769 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $1.535 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.17 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Market value of publicly traded shares:
    $401.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $340.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $359.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    Current account balance:
    -$547 million (2017 est.)
    -$621 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Exports:
    $554.6 million (2017 est.)
    $495.3 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Exports - partners:
    India 95.3% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, cardamom, calcium carbide, steel rods/bars, dolomite, gypsum
    Imports:
    $1.025 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.03 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    Imports - commodities:
    fuel and lubricants, airplanes, machinery and parts, rice, motor vehicles
    Imports - partners:
    India 89.5% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $1.206 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.127 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Debt - external:
    $2.671 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $2.355 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
    $160.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $168.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    Exchange rates:
    ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar -
    64.97 (2017 est.)
    67.2 (2016 est.)
    67.2 (2015 est.)
    64.15 (2014 est.)
    61.03 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Bhutan
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 187,531 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 76% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 100% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 53% (2012)
    Electricity - production:
    7.883 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    Electricity - consumption:
    2.184 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Electricity - exports:
    5.763 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    Electricity - imports:
    84 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    1.632 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    1% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    99% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    3,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    3,120 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    604,900 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
  • Communications :: Bhutan
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 21,364 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 730,623 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 96 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services; telecom sector has been continuing on a steady development path; fixed broadband penetration remains very low, due to the preeminence of the mobile platform; next five years to 2023 low to moderate growth is expected from this small base (2017)
    domestic: domestic service inadequate, notably in rural areas; mobile-cellular service, begun in 2003, is now widely available; 3 to 100 fixed-line, 96 to 100 mobile cellular (2017)
    international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2016)
    Broadcast media:
    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)
    Internet country code:
    .bt
    Internet users:
    total: 313,347 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 41.8% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 16,707 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
  • Transportation :: Bhutan
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 162,864 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 538,041 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    A5 (2016)
    Airports:
    2 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 2 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 1 (2012)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
    Roadways:
    total: 10,578 km
    paved: 2,975 km (includes 2,180 km of national highways)
    unpaved: 7,603 km (2013)

    note: a more recent figure for 2015 lists 11,177 km for total roadway length, but no breakdown of paved or unpaved

    country comparison to the world: 135
  • Military and Security :: Bhutan
  • Military branches:
    Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2009)
    Military service age and obligation:
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; militia training is compulsory for males aged 20-25, over a 3-year period (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: Bhutan
  • Disputes - international:
    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 most contentious of which lie in Bhutan's west along China’s Chumbi salient