In 1971, sponsored by India, Bhutan began to develop its foreign relations by joining the United Nations, 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.
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.
Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with sixteen European nations: Andorra; Austria; Armenia; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; Luxembourg; the Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (with whom it established relations on 11 February 2011); Sweden; and Switzerland, which form the "Friends of Bhutan" group, along with Japan, which contributes towards development projects in Bhutan. Other EU countries that do not have formal relations with Bhutan (such as France and Germany) are represented by the EU, which does maintain a diplomatic relation separate from the countries that already have one.
In addition to Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, and South Korea, Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with eighteen other Asian nations: Afghanistan; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Brunei; Burma; Indonesia; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; the Maldives; Mongolia; Oman; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Tajikistan; Thailand; Turkey; the United Arab Emirates; and Vietnam. Bhutan also maintains diplomatic relations with four African nations: Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, and Swaziland; six American nations: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Cuba; and two Oceanian nations: Australia and Fiji. 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 Permanent mission to the United Nations in New York City. The United Kingdom has an Honorary Consul resident in Thimphu.
Bhutan does not recognize any of the partially or non-recognized states plus UN member states Israel and China (PRC)
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 27 September 2012.
Bangladesh is one of only two nations to maintain a residential embassy in Thimphu. Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognize Bangladeshi independence in 1971. The two states have agreed to develop hydropower in the Himalayas, as well as initiate free trade and transhipment through Bangladeshi ports. They also cooperate in water resources management.
Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with its northern neighbor, the People's Republic of China, and is one of the few countries to not recognise or have relations with either China or Taiwan. 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. The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border.
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 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." 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.
Pakistan and Bhutan established relations in 1988.
The Philippines and Bhutan have no formal relations yet. The Philippines has an embassy in New Delhi, India as representative to dialogues with Bhutan. Numerous senators and high-profile personalities from the Philippines have visited Bhutan and have been pushing for the Gross National Happiness to also be applied in the Philippines, citing its effectiveness and efficiency in nation-building, environmental and cultural conservation, and human rights upholding. Filipino senator Loren Legarda, a United Nations Global Champion for Resilience, has been pushing for greater diplomatic relations between the two countries. In September 2014, the Prime Minister of Bhutan visited the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila. In 2018, the Philippines sent its engineers to Bhutan's capital in a bid to develop Bhutan's space program that will be launched in May.
Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with Russia.
High-level Exchanges from Bhutan to South Korea: July 1994 External Affairs Minister Tshering, May 1995 External Affairs Minister Tshering, October 1998 External Affairs Minister Tshering, September 2002 Industry and Commerce Minister K. Wangchuk, May 2005 Ambassador to Korea Jigme Tshultim, November 2006 Housing and Engineering Minister Kinzang Dorji, February 2007 Culture Minister Jigmi Thinley, April 2007 Public Prosecutor General Damcho Dorji, June 2007 Information and Communication Minister Leki Dorji (ACD), October 2010 Ambassador to Korea Bap Kesang, January 2014 Information and Communication Minister Lyonpo Dungyel, August 2014 Agriculture Vice Minister Tenzin Dhendup.
Both countries established diplomatic relations on January 24, 2013.
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 which Bhutan has no formal mission.
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. All felonies in Bhutan are punishable by a minimum of three years' imprisonment.
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.
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.
|Mission to Bhutan||Location||Mission of Bhutan||Location||Notes|
|Canada||New Delhi||New York City||
|European Union||New Delhi||Brussels|
|Republic of Korea||New Delhi|
|Nepal||New Delhi||New Delhi|
|Serbia||Both countries have established diplomatic relations on 9 December2011.|
|Sri Lanka||New Delhi||Dhaka|
|Turkey||Dhaka||The ambassador of the Turkish Embassy in Dhaka is accredited to Bhutan.|
|United Arab Emirates|
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The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative is a sub regional architecture of countries in Eastern South Asia, a subregion of South Asia. It meets through official representation of member states to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreements across areas such as water resources management, connectivity of power, transport, and infrastructure.Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018). The BIMSTEC member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan —are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors. A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation (c. 2018).
Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.Bhutan War
The Bhutan War (or Duar War) was a war fought between British India and Bhutan in 1864–1865.Foreign Minister of Bhutan
The Foreign Minister of Bhutan occupies the Ministerial post in the Royal Government of Bhutan which deals with the country's foreign policy. The office was founded in 1968 as the Ministry of Development; it was reorganized in 1970 as the Department of Foreign Affairs. In 1972 it achieved its current form as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bhutan has relations with 24 nations including the European Union. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs is Tandi Dorji.Foreign relations of Vietnam
As of September 2016, Vietnam (officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) maintains diplomatic relationships with 188 nations throughout the world, including permanent members of United Nations Security Council. In 2011 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, at the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, released an official statement about Vietnam's foreign policy and a section of the statement stated: "Vietnam is a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the international community, actively taking part in international and regional cooperation processes. Deepen, stabilize and sustain established international relations. Develop relations with countries and territories in the world, as well as international organizations, while showing: respect for each other's independence; sovereignty and territorial integrity; non-interference in each other's international affairs; non-use or threat of force; settlement of disagreements and disputes by means of peaceful negotiations; mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit."Key steps had been taken by Vietnam to restore diplomatic ties with key countries, Full diplomatic relations were restored with New Zealand who opened its embassy in Hanoi in 1995, while Vietnam established an embassy in Wellington in 2003. Pakistan reopened its embassy in Hanoi in October 2000. Vietnam also reopened its embassy in Islamabad in December 2005 and trade office in Karachi in November 2005. United States–Vietnam relations improved in August 1995, when both nations upgraded their liaison offices opened during January 1995 to embassy status, with the United States later opening a consulate general in Ho Chi Minh City, and Vietnam opening a consulate in San Francisco.Foreign relations of the United Kingdom
The diplomatic foreign relations of the United Kingdom are conducted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, headed by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The Prime Minister and numerous other agencies play a role in setting policy, and many institutions and businesses have a voice and a role.
Britain was the world's foremost power during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably during the so-called "Pax Britannica"—a period of totally unrivaled supremacy and unprecedented international peace during the mid-to-late 1800s. The country continued to be widely considered a 'superpower' until the Suez crisis of 1956, and this embarrassing incident coupled with the loss of the empire left the UK's dominant role in global affairs to be gradually diminished. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom remains a great power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a founding member of the G7, G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Council of Europe, OSCE, and the Commonwealth of Nations, which is a legacy of the British Empire. The UK has been a member state of the European Union (and a member of its predecessors) since 1973. However, due to the outcome of a 2016 membership referendum, proceedings to withdraw from the EU began in 2017. Since the vote, policymakers have begun pursuing new trade agreements with other global partners.Law of Bhutan
The law of Bhutan derives mainly from legislation and treaties. Prior to the enactment of the Constitution, laws were enacted by fiat of the King of Bhutan. The law of Bhutan originates in the semi-theocratic Tsa Yig legal code, and was heavily influenced through the twentieth century by English common law. As Bhutan democratizes, its government has examined many countries' legal systems and modeled its reforms after their laws.The supreme law of Bhutan is the Constitution of 2008. Under the Constitution, laws are passed through a bicameral process requiring the assent of the National Assembly and National Council of Parliament, as well as the assent of the King. The final authority on law of Bhutan and its interpretation is the Supreme Court. Laws enacted in Bhutan prior to the Constitution of 2008 remain intact insofar as they do not conflict with the Constitution.Much of Bhutanese law is premised on promoting Gross National Happiness, a fundamental principle of the Constitution.The law of Bhutan is enforced by the national police, established in 1965. The judicial system of Bhutan, namely the Royal Court of Justice, brings and hears cases and interprets the law of Bhutan. Agencies of Ministries within the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Cabinet) as well as independent Commissions are established by law to implement relevant laws, provide regulations, and establish procedural frameworks.List of diplomatic missions in Bhutan
This is a list of diplomatic missions in Bhutan. At present, the capital of Thimphu hosts three embassies and by that, it is the capital that hosts one of the fewest embassies in the world (Vatican City and Liechtenstein do not host any foreign embassies).List of diplomatic missions of Bhutan
This is a list of diplomatic missions of Bhutan. The landlocked and isolationist Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has a very limited number of diplomatic missions abroad.Military history of Bhutan
The military history of Bhutan begins with the Battle of Five Lamas in 1634, marking Bhutan's emergence as a nation under the secular and religious leadership of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Before Bhutan emerged as a separate nation, it remained on the periphery of Tibetan military and political influence. The region that became Bhutan was host to several battles and waves of refugees from turmoil in Tibet. After its founding, Bhutan was invaded numerous times by outside forces, namely Tibetans, Mongols, and the British. Bhutan meanwhile invaded its traditional tributaries in Sikkim, Cooch Behar, and the Duars.
Bhutan effectively ceased all international military hostilities in 1865 under the Treaty of Sinchula after its defeat by the British Empire. Under the terms of the subsequent Treaty of Punakha in 1910, Bhutan effectively became a British protectorate. Bhutan has maintained this status with India under Bhutan–India relations since 1949, and has modernly engaged only in limited domestic operations against Indian separatist groups.Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bhutan)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the Bhutanese government ministry which oversees the foreign relations of Bhutan. The Royal Government of Bhutan established the Development Ministry in 1968, which was a precursor to the institution of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1970 and subsequent up gradation to a full-fledged ministry in 1972.
Bhutan has established diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union.Outline of Bhutan
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Bhutan:
Bhutan – landlocked sovereign country located in South Asia. Bhutan is located amidst the eastern end of the Himalaya Mountains and is bordered to the south, east and west by India and to the north by China. Bhutan is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim. The Bhutanese call their country Druk Yul (land of the thunder dragon).Foreign influences and tourism in Bhutan are regulated by the government to preserve the nation's traditional culture, identity and the environment. in 2006 Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth happiest country in the world. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism being the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of direct monarchic rule, Bhutan held its first democratic elections in March 2008. Bhutan is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme
The South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme, also known as SACEP, is an inter-governmental organisation established in 1982 by the South Asian governments to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the region.South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.
SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.Treaty of Punakha
The Treaty of Punakha was an agreement signed on 8 January 1910, at Punakha Dzong between the recently consolidated Kingdom of Bhutan and British India. The Treaty of Punakha is not a stand-alone document, but represents a modification of the Treaty of Sinchula of 1865, the prior working agreement between Bhutan and British India. As such, the Treaty of Punakha is an amendment whose text incorporates all other aspects of the Treaty of Sinchula by reference.
Under the Treaty of Punakha, Britain guaranteed Bhutan's independence, granted Bhutanese Royal Government an increased stipend, and took control of Bhutanese foreign relations. Although this treaty began the practice of delegating Bhutanese foreign relations to another suzerain, the treaty also affirmed Bhutanese independence as one of the few Asian kingdoms never conquered by a regional or colonial power.United Nations Security Council Resolution 292
United Nations Security Council Resolution 292, adopted unanimously on February 10, 1971, after examining the application of Bhutan for membership in the United Nations, the Council recommended to the General Assembly that Bhutan be admitted.Visa policy of Bhutan
Travel to the Kingdom of Bhutan is highly regulated under the policy "High Value, Low Impact Tourism" in order to minimize the impact on the country's unique society and environment. Bhutanese policy ensures that only a limited number of tourists enter the country at any one time, preventing it from being overwhelmed by mass tourism and thus altering its character, and that the tourists who do come get the most out of their visits.Visa requirements for Bhutanese citizens
Visa requirements for Bhutanese citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Bhutan. As of 26 March 2019, Bhutanese citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 55 countries and territories, ranking the Bhutanese passport 84th in terms of travel freedom (tied with passports from Gabon, Guinea, Mali and Togo) according to the Henley Passport Index.
Foreign relations of Asia