Saturday, May 11, 2013
His Infant and High School (1965-1977 May)
The Sibsoo High School at Gola Bazzar in Sibsoo Dungkhag (Samtse) where Royal Bhutan Army currently occupies the campus is the Alma Mater of my father. That was the place where my father received his share of modern education which made him into a gentleman.
|Sibsoo High School|
During his entire schooling, he was excellent in dramatics and equally good in athletics. He has won a ton of sport certificates in his time and received accolade after accolade for his dramatic skills. He acted brilliantly for a skit ‘Paral Ko Aago’. It was an enactment of a famous Nepali Blockbuster. He swept the audience with his immaculate acting skill and his act of smoking a real cigarette on the stage purely out of love for acting brought waves of anger among family members at home.
The Letter that changed his life (September 1977)
After completing eighth Grade (final grade offered by the school) he spends next four months toiling field and looking after cows. It was during these months when he had spent some quality time with our mother, the then a village girl.
Growing up in a large family she had to make a choice between household chores and walking to school. She took up the household responsibilities and allowed her brothers to attend school. She often visited my paternal grandparents whenever she was free from her unending chores, some time to chit-chat and often to help them with their share of work.
One fine day, a letter from ‘Man Power’ landed on his hand. During those times, the name ‘Man Power’ was commonly known for the office that recruited citizens in various government agencies. The office was stationed in the Capital, Thimphu. It was the letter that molded a man’s destiny. This letter which was typed on a thin paper using a typewriter commenced a journey that took my father 34 long years to return home but with great pride and honor.
His first visit to Thimphu (1977 October)
In those days, the motor road that we have today connecting Sipsoo and Samtse didn’t exist. The only route possible was through Indian towns. He had to cross our border to Indian town known as Thaljhora where ‘Dattha Transport’ would take him to Nagarkata and from there he had to board another mini bus to reach Jaigoan (border town near Phuntsholing, Bhutan).
|My great grandmother holding me on her lap( pic: 1984)|
My Great Grandmother, 98 years old now, gave him 30 Rupees (Bhutanese Currencies were not prominent then) to spend on his journey to Thimphu. Phuntsholing Town was a tiny patch of settlement then. On the following day he aboard BGTS (Bhutan Govt Transport Service) bus from Phuntsholing to Thimphu.
On the way up, the present Bustling Gedu town existed with only few huts and Tshimasham or Chimakoti as it was popularly known then served as a pit-stop (it still does) for drivers and passengers to rest and eat. The place also had few scattered huts. There use to be four check points before one reaches to Thimphu; First came Kharbandi ( now known as Rinchending Check post), the next point was near Chukha Bridge, then came Chimakoti (near present Chukha BOD) and finally at Chuzom (confluence where Paro-Thimphu-Ha roads diverge).
|Thimphu Clock Tower|
While reaching Thimphu, the bus took him and his fellow passengers to an open space where we have our prized Clock Tower today. The open area served as a dropping point for passengers until the Tower was built. A smaller iron bridge use to run beneath the present Luntenzampa Bridge which helped traffic to cross the mighty Thimphu River.
|Along Norzin Lam|
The traffic consists of mostly Jeeps and a lot of people were seen wearing pants and shirts. Meanwhile, in the western world it was the hippy’s trend that blazed the time. ‘I looked like a hippy,’ he proudly said. He had long and shabby hair, tight gogo pant and had worn a pair of shiny leather shoes when he first came to Thimphu.
|My father up with the GO GO style|
He was accompanied by his uncle to the ‘Man Power Office’. A long and heavy register on the desk of the ‘Man Power office’ showed him a list of vacancies for him to choose from. There were two hundred plus vacancies available, re-called my father.
One post captured their attention. The technical allowances paid for the post was Nu: 100. In addition to it, Nu: 300 will be paid as salary after the required training completes and during the training period a stipend of Nu: 200 will be given to the trainee. So, he placed his signature next to it and there forth his destiny was sealed.
Training and first official posting (77 Oct – 78 November)
His training in Animal Husbandry took him to VTI (Veterinary Training Institute) at Wangchutaba. In the middle of his training, he visited his village to get married with the village girl who always came to help his parents; our mom. On 18th May, 1978 they tied their knots and my father returned to complete his training. After completing his one year training and serving for six more months he went back to his village to bring our mother along with him to Thimphu.
|Near Pangrizampa (Thimphu). Back drop: One of the mighty trees there.|
|The place where Tarayana Building and Chuba chu BOD stands today.|
After completing his training in November of the same year, his first place of posting was at Veterinary Hospital then situated opposite to the present City Mall at Chubachu. Then he shifted to Dechencholing where he had to often give treatments to the Royal cohort of cattle at the palace. They stayed there from January of 1978 to June of 1980.
|In Paro..(i am in front of my mother)|
Between 1981 to 1986 November, when I was three years old, my elder sister was six and my younger sister was only a few months old, we came back to veterinary Hospital, Chubachu. From then on we moved out of Thimphu to Paro and got transferred from one District to another within a span of two or three years for next twenty six years.
|(Near Mount Coot-tha|
Staying at Paro he got enlisted for three months training at Queensland University, Australia. It was the first group of Bhutanese sent aboard to be trained as Livestock Inspectors (now known as Regulatory and quarantine inspector, BAFRA).
|My dad playing with the Kangaroos.|
After twenty three years the government of Bhutan offered him yet another opportunity to travel abroad on an official tour. This time it was Bangkok, “the land of smiles” for twelve long days starting 21st Feb, 2010.
|Some where in Bangkok|
2012- Sipsu calling
On 26th September, my dad, mom and i packed our stuff for the final time. We moved on to our village in Sipsoo, the final place of posting for my father before he retires in October 2013.
That day when his feet touched the soil of our village my heart poured out all the respect and love that one heart could ever muster. I only saw a happy man but I couldn’t image the amount of satisfaction he might have experienced in the heat of the moment. It was a long travel around the country and arriving at the place where it all began must have meant a lot for him and I felt it too. My eyes were filled with happy tears and got moved pondering upon every little sacrifice our parents have made for our happiness. They indeed lived a self-less life.
|At Paro........ Back Drop: The majestic Rimpong Dzong.|
The moment my father stepped down penned a story of a man who served his country with his best ability. With all honesty, sincerity and utmost dedication he was there at the service of our King, Country and the People. When my mother recently asked him to resign owing to his ill health he said, “34 years went by….i am left with one more year to serve my country as a civil servant… so lets wait!’’
It was indeed an emotional moment for him. After we settled down with our stuff, my father hurriedly updated his Facebook status.. … He wrote:
Left his village when he was a young boy of 19 on tour for 34 years. Still one year to complete his official tour....he is now back to his village to complete his last 1 year which will be his final and binding...in his last one year time he has to cover many important works which will be his tour conclusion...God bless him.....
The day we reached our village was also a very special day for my mother. Her journey along with my father also completed a whole circle. My heart equally felt for her too. She must have been also satisfied and happy for she has been doing the best what a mother could possiblely do for her family. She has been the rock of our family who decided on many things for the betterment of her family and has selflessly dedicated each day of her life in the service of her family. For last 34 years she has been anxiously waiting at the door for my father to arrive from office, the day commenced a year that marks the end of her waiting because my father has finally returned home for now and forever.
Address at Sibsoo, Southern Bhutan, January 1, 1974
It has not been many years since development projects were first started in
our country. Even so, in these few years, our nation has advanced a great
deal and notable progress has been achieved. Initially, our government
envisaged and carried out development of the larger towns and areas around
the dzongs in the country. I now feel that we must aim at the development of
our villages, since most of the population consists of farmers and cultivators.
If the attention of the government is firmly focused on these people and on
bringing about the general improvement of agriculture, then we can entertain
the highest hopes of becoming self-sufficient in food grains. Therefore, our
government is giving the highest priority to agricultural development.
You must never think, however, that every measure of development and
every effort will be taken and made by the government alone. The efforts
being made by the government most definitely require the support and
cooperation of the people. If the government and the people combine their
efforts and resources in the field of agriculture, not only will you all benefit,
but the nation will also find greater security.
You, the citizens of Southern Bhutan, must never regard yourselves as aliens,
because you and your forebears also, were born and raised in Bhutan and as
such, all of you are Bhutanese. Regarding yourselves thus, you must look to
the betterment and progress of Bhutan. All of us must remain united as one
people and as one nation and forge ahead together.
In these times, we hear of strife, wars, disease, floods and famine in other
countries, but in the midst of all this turmoil, we here are enjoying peace and
prosperity. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, we have kept firm faith in
God and He has blessed us with peace and prosperity. Secondly, we have
maintained strong unity between the government and the people.
My real purpose in coming to Sibsoo today is to look into the problems and
the difficulties of the people here. I wish to meet your village Mandals and
elders and discuss these problems with them and try to discover how best we
can help you. I am extremely happy to have met you all.Tashi Delek!
Royal Kasho on the stepping down of the 4th Druk Gyalpo from the
Golden Throne, December 9, 2006
As I have announced during the National Day celebrations last year about my
abdication, and also briefed the Lhengye Zhungtshog on this decision, the
time has now come for me to hand over my responsibilities to Trongsa Penlop
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
While we prepare ourselves for parliamentary democracy in 2008, we must all
pledge with our body, speech and mind to be unwavering and steadfast in
our efforts to strengthen the sovereignty and security of Bhutan, to ensure
the blessings of liberty, ensure justice and peace in our country, and enhance
the unity, happiness and well being of our people for all time to come.
In taking note of the progress that our nation has made over the past thirty
years, I would like to state that whatever we have achieved so far is due to
the merit of the people pf Bhutan. I, therefore, wish to express my gratitude
to the Clergy, the officials of the Royal Government, the members of the
business community and our security forces, and to all the people of the
twenty dzongkhags for their unfailing support and loyalty to me and the
I am confident that a very bright and great future lies ahead for Bhutan with
leadership of a new king and a democratic system of government that is best
suited for our country, as enshrined under the Constitution. I have every
confidence that there will be unprecedented progress and prosperity for our
nation in the reign of our Fifth King.
As I hand over my responsibilities to my son, I repose my full faith and belief
in the people of Bhutan to look after the future of our nation, for it is the
Bhutanese people who are true custodians of our tradition and culture and
the ultimate guardians of the security, sovereignty and continued well being
of our country.
May the blessings of Ugyen Guru Rimpoche, the father of our nation
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and our Guardian Deities continue to guide the
destiny of our country and protect the future of the glorious Palden Drukpa!
Given at Tashichhodzong on the Twentieth Day of the Tenth Month of the
Fire-Dog Year, corresponding to the Ninth Day of December 2006.
Druk Gyalpo Message on UN’s 40th Founding Anniversary, Thimphu
October 24, 1985
The United Nations was born from the ashes of mankind’s most disastrous
war. It rose out of a deep human commitment to prevent the occurrence of
another war that would threaten again the very survival of the human race.
Representing the noble ideals of freedom, equality, justice and peace, the
United Nations today stands as a powerful symbol of our continuous search
for everlasting peace and shared prosperity.
In the four decades since the establishment of the United Nations, the world
has changed at a staggering pace. The number of independent nations has
more than tripled, the population has doubled and the global economy has
grown faster than ever before. Science and technology have made
achievement beyond all expectations to the extent that the survival of
mankind is faced with even greater threats. Disparities between the poor and
the rich nations continue to grow wider while conflicts and tensions have not
ceased to exist. Unique in its hope, aspirations and potential, the United
Nations has stood steadfast through these turbulent times.
The 40th Anniversary of the United Nations provides an opportunity to review
the performance of the organization. In so doing, an honest retrospection
bring to our minds an impressive list of accomplishments towards the cause
of human advancement. On the other hand, the acceleration in the nuclear
arms race, failure to resolve numerous conflicts, the continuation of apartheid
and the retreat from multilateralism bear sad testimony to the diminishing
stature and credibility of the United Nations. I believe that the strengths and
weaknesses of the United Nations are not for us to judge but that they are a
true measure of the combined commitment of all the member nations to the
ideals of this great world body. Indeed, the strength of the United Nations
comes only from the firmness of our conviction in a common future, and its
weaknesses arise from the doubt and suspicion among ourselves.
It is most heartening to note that the 40th Anniversary Celebrations have
brought together the largest congregation of heads of state or government in
the history of the United Nations. Their participation is an affirmation of their
recognition of the United Nations as an irreplaceable and only viable means to
achieving international unity, peace and progress.
On this occasion, let us, therefore, re-dedicate ourselves to the strengthening
of the United Nations and renew our commitment to its noble ideals.
Bhutan became a proud member of the United Nations in 1971. Since then,
and in particular, after the opening of the United Nations Development
Programme Office in Thimphu in 1979, assistance to Bhutan from the United
Nations Organization and agencies has steadily increased over the years.
Their assistance has been vital in strengthening our capacity to bring about
desired changes and development in this country. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have worked tirelessly in
implementing the valued programmes of assistance. We reaffirm our support
to multilateral cooperation and look to increased participation of the United
Nations system in our future development efforts.
On this auspicious occasion, we pay tribute to the United Nations for its 40
years of dedicated service to mankind. On our part, as a member state, we
once again pledge to uphold the noble ideals of the charter and to work
together with other nations to build a better and peaceful world.
Message on A Day Against Drug Abuse, December 8, 1989
We are happy to learn that the 8th of December 1989, which coincided with the
Fourth Anniversary of the promulgation of the Charter of the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation, will be observed as a Day Against Drug Abuse by SAARC
member countries. We hope that this will help to create greater public awareness in
our region about the serious dangers posed by drug abuse and drug trafficking. This
day also marks the culmination of several activities that have been undertaken at
national and regional levels during the year in order to observe 1989 as the SAARC
Year for Combating Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking.
We view with grave concern the adverse effects of the growing problem of drug
trafficking throughout the world. The clandestine production and trade in natural and
synthetic drugs are often connected with organized criminal activities such as trade
in weapons, smuggling, terrorism and subversion. The illicit use and trade in drugs
breeds crime and corruption and undermines the moral values and happiness of our
There has been an upsurge of interest in recent years to find solutions to the
problem of drugs at national, regional and global levels. Many countries have
introduced measures to control and, if possible, eliminate this menace. Regional and
international efforts, especially under the aegis of the United Nations, have
intensified in the recent years with a view to improving the mechanisms for
surveillance and coordination. However, individual and collective efforts at a national
level are essential if we are to make headway against this social evil.
Our own region of South Asia has become a centre of drug trade and drug abuse
inspite of mounting governmental efforts to come to terms with this problem. We
have been addressing this issue since the First Summit at Dhaka in 1985. A Technical
Committee on Prevention of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse was established in
1986 with a view to tackling the problem on a regional basis. We note with
satisfaction that this Technical Committee has made commendable progress in
carrying out the tasks entrusted to it.
We are fortunate to be a drug-free society at present. Our strong faith in religion and
our traditional value system and close family ties have so far acted as a major
deterrent against drug abuse in our society. We are, however, fully conscious that
the kingdom may not remain totally insulated from the dangers of narcotics for all
the time to come. With this in mind, the Royal Government of Bhutan issued a
Notification on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in 1988. This Notification
provides the legal framework for controlling the evil and punishing the offenders.
We are happy on this day to be able to join the SAARC fraternity in expressing our
firm support and commitment to the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking in
Message for the Inaugural Ceremony of Bhutan Carbide and Chemicals Project, December 8, 1988
On the auspicious occasion of the inauguration of the Bhutan Carbide and
Chemicals Plant, I wish to congratulate the Board of Directors, Ugyen Dorji,
and all the officers and staff of the project for the successful commissioning
of a major industrial venture in Bhutan.
This project represents an important step towards industrialization of the
country. Not only has it proved that a major industrial venture can be
introduced in Bhutan, but also that there is growing managerial capability to
deal with complex processes and technologies. The experience gained from
establishing this project will certainly go a long way in helping develop other
industries. The plant itself will provide necessary raw materials for many other
products, thereby laying down firm foundations for further industrial activities.
The Royal Government has declared self-reliance as a primary objective of the
development process in Bhutan. A key element of self-reliance is the capacity
to mobilize natural resources to generate revenues for meeting development
costs. This project is based on minerals and energy from within the country,
clearly following the national policy of utilizing our internal resources for
The Royal Government cannot take the full responsibility of the development
of the country alone. This responsibility must be shared by every individual.
In the field of trade, services and industry, the private sector must take
initiative and play a leading role. The government on its part will provide
necessary assistance and support, including financial participation in larger
projects where the private sector does not have sufficient capital for
investment. The successful commissioning of this plant clearly demonstrates
that the Royal Government and the private sector can work closely together
in the industrialization process of the country.
Bhutan today has been fortunate to be the beneficiary of tremendous
international goodwill and assistance. We must express our gratitude to the
many partners involved in assisting us launch this project.
The Government of India provided the means for the initial survey of mineral
resources which has determined the possibility of this industry and has
extended assistance for the setting up of the Chhukha Hydro Project which
supplies a major input required by the plant. The people and Government of
Norway have been especially generous in extending a substantive grant to
finance an important component of the project. We also express our deep
appreciation to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development for providing
the largest portion of the investment on concessional terms and the
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development who have not only
provided technical support and organized the co-financing, but also extended
their own financial support on highly concessional terms. I am aware of the many constraints that the project had to face during the
establishment phase. Each one has been overcome with initiative and
decisiveness. I am certain that the project will continue meeting the many
challenges ahead, to reach and maintain a high level of production, quality
and profitability. I wish the management and the staff of the Bhutan Carbide
and Chemicals every success in this important task.
Message during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Sherubtse College, 1993
Sherubtse College is one of the most important educational institutes we have
in Bhutan. I fondly remember being present when Sherubtse was inaugurated
as a Higher Secondary School by my father on May 6, 1968. Since then it has
taken great strides to become a premier educational institute. Upgraded to a
junior college in 1976, Sherubtse became a full-fledged college in 1983. Many
of the students who studied in Sherubtse hold important posts in the
government today and participate actively in the nation building process.
The greatness of a country is determined by its people. The productiveness
and character of the people is in turn determined by the quality of education
they receive. As the only college in the country, and with the brightest
students from our high schools and junior colleges joining it every year, it is
of utmost importance that Sherubtse imparts the best possible higher
education to our students. To this end, the Royal Government is fully
committed to making Sherubtse College into one of the best institutes of
higher studies in South Asia.
Bhutan, today, is passing through a crucial period in its history. Even as we
are faced with a serious problem that threatens the future survival of our
country, we are also poised to enter the 21st century. Blessed with rich
natural resources, in particular a huge capacity for hydropower generation,
we have the potential to become one of the most prosperous countries in
South Asia. At the same time, our small size and population make it
imperative for us to preserve and promote our cultural heritage and unique
national identity as a means to strengthen and safeguard our sovereignty and
It is against this backdrop that the students and faculty of Sherubtse College
should look ahead to the future as you celebrate the 25th Anniversary of
Sherubtse’s establishment, initially as a Higher Secondary School. The destiny
of our country lies in the hands of our younger generation, and as the cream
of our youth, the students of Sherubtse College must play a progressive role
and shoulder the responsibility of shaping the destiny of our country. I place
my full faith in all of you and have the highest expectations that each and
every one of you will serve your country with love, loyalty and dedication.
On the auspicious occasion of celebrating Sherubtse’s 25th Anniversary, let us
all reaffirm our loyalty and dedication to our country and pledge to ensure its
well-being and security. May the future of the Palden Drukpa forever remain
secure in your hands, and may the sun of peace and prosperity shine on the
Bhutanese people for all time to come.
Kasho to the Speaker of the National Assembly during its 76th Session, June 10, 1998
This is to apprise the Speaker of the Tshogdu Chhenmo that a matter of great
importance, for the present as well as the future well-being and security of our
country, needs to be discussed and decided by the Tshogdu Chhenmo during its
forthcoming 76th Session.
Over the past twenty six years of my reign I have, above everything else in my life,
always put the interest and well-being of the country and people first. I have
constantly strived, through the full endeavour of body, speech and mind, to bring
progress and prosperity to the Bhutanese people and to safeguard the national
interest and security of our country, the glorious Pelden Drukpa. We can draw much
satisfaction that during this period Bhutan has achieved rapid socio-economic
development, which has brought about a better quality of life for our people, and its
status as a sovereign, independent country has also been greatly strengthened.
It has also been my endeavour to encourage and prepare our people to participate
actively and fully in the decision making process of our country. To this end, a policy
of decentralization was launched and Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogchungs were
established in all our dzongkhags in 1981. This policy was given a further impetus in
1991 with the establishment of Geog Yargay Tshogchungs in all 202 geogs. Today,
our country is progressing well on the path of socio-economic development and the
people are also playing an increasingly active role, through the Dzongkhag Yargay
Tshogchungs and the Geog Yargay Tshogchungs, in the formulation and
implementation of development programmes and in bringing forward issues of
national concern for discussion in the Tshogdu Chhenmo.
The time has now come to promote even greater people’s participation in the
decision making process. Our country must be ensured to always have a system of
government which enjoys the mandate of the people, provides clean and efficient
governance, and also has an inbuilt mechanism of checks and balance to safeguard
our national interest and security.
As an important step towards achieving this goal, the Lhengye Zhungtshog should
now be restructured into an elected Council of Ministers that is vested with full
executive powers to provide efficient and effective governance of our country.
Therefore, keeping in mind both the present and future interest and well-being of
our country, I would like to request the honorable members of the Tshogdu
Chhenmo to discuss and take a decision on the following important issues during the
76th Session of the Tshogdu Chhenmo.
1. All Cabinet Ministers should henceforth be elected by the Tshogdu Chhenmo with
the first election of Cabinet Ministers to take place during the 76th Session.
2. A decision should be taken on the role and responsibilities of the Lhengye
3. The Tshogdu Chhenmo should have a mechanism to move a vote of confidence in
His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo. Having given considerable thought to these important issues, I would like to share
my views on them with the honourable members of the Tshogdu Chhenmo so that
this matter of great national importance can be fruitfully discussed and unanimously
decided during the 76th Session. The honourable members may wish to consider my
thoughts and views, given below, as a guideline for our deliberations on the
restructuring of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and the devolution of full executive powers
of governance to an elected Council of Ministers.
The Lhengye Zhungtshog should henceforth comprise of elected Ministers and the
members of the Royal Advisory Council. At the present juncture, while Bhutan has
many qualified and capable officials, most of them are still very young and do not
have enough seniority, in keeping with our tradition and culture to stand as
candidates for the post of Cabinet Minister. Indeed, it has been due to this fact that
Cabinet Ministers have thus far held their posts for very long periods of time. With
the passage of time, we can expect a greater availability of qualified candidates for
the post of Cabinet Ministership to ensure efficient and effective executive
governance of our country.
Cabinet Ministers should be elected by the Tshogdu Chhenmo through a secret
ballot. To ensure efficient executive governing of our country, the candidates should
be selected from among persons who have held senior government posts at the rank
of Secretary to the Royal Government or above. A candidate must secure a majority
of the votes cast to be considered elected.
The portfolios for the elected Ministers of the Lhengye Zhungtshog should be
awarded by His Majesty the King.
A cabinet minister should serve for a term of five years after which the minister
should face a vote of confidence in the Tshogdu Chhenmo.
All decisions adopted by the Lhengye Zhungtshog will be based on consensus. While
the Lhengye Zhungtshog shall govern Bhutan with full executive powers, it must also
keep His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo fully informed on all matters that concern the
security and sovereignty of our country.
A Chathrim for the Lhengye Zhungtshog should be framed by a Committee
comprising of members of the government, clergy and people’s representatives of
the 20 dzongkhags in the Tshogdu Chhenmo, and it should be duly presented for
enactment by the Tshogdu Chhenmo during its 77th Session.
Having observed the political systems of other countries, it is important that Bhutan
should have a system of government that is best suited for the needs and
requirements of a small nation like ours to ensure its continued well-being and
security, and safeguard its status as a sovereign, independent country. Accordingly,
an inbuilt mechanism of checks and balance is very necessary for us to ensure that
the procedures for the election of cabinet ministers cannot be undermined and
exploited by vested interests. This is particularly important for a small nation like
ours, which is located between two of the largest and most populous countries of the
world. In our situation, we cannot afford to have the divisive forces of regionalism
and communalism come into play in the election of the Council of Ministers.
To further enhance and strengthen our system of government, it is my wish and request to the honorable members of the Tshogdu Chhenmo to adopt a practice to
register a vote of confidence in the Druk Gyalpo. A two-thirds vote of no confidence
by the Tshogdu Chhenmo shall require His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo to abdicate in
favour of the Crown Prince or the next-in-line of succession to the Golden Throne.
Having taken into account both the present and future well-being and interest of our
country, it is my wish and prayer for the Lhengye Zhungtshog to be restructured and
full executive powers to be devolved to an elected Council of Ministers. It is of
utmost importance that this matter is tabled for deliberation during the 76th Session
of the Tshogdu Chhenmo and that a decision is taken during this session itself.
Having always kept the national interest foremost in mind in everything I have
undertaken, I wish to remind the honourable members of the Tshogdu Chhenmo
that it is your responsibility also to keep the well-being and interest of our country in
mind while discussing this matter of great national importance. I would like to
request the honourable members to bear in mind that passing a unanimous decision
on the restructuring of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and the devolution of full executive
powers to an elected Council of Ministers will be very beneficial for the continued
progress, security and well-being of our country, the glorious Palden Drukpa.
Issued on the Fifteenth Day of the Fourth Month of the Year of the Male Earth Tiger,
corresponding to the Tenth Day of June, 1998, at the Tashichhodzong.
Convocation Address at Nagarjuna Sagen University, India March 16, 1982
Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Vice-chancellor, Members of the Faculty, Excellencies,
distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, and Friends.
It gives me great pleasure today to address this distinguished gathering in a region
sanctified by one of the greatest philosophers of all times. Some 18 centuries ago
Acharya Nagarjuna lived and taught here. This spiritual and intellectual giant
developed the philosophical basis of Mahayana Buddhism, and, in doing so, exerted
a deep and lasting influence on Buddhism. The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan owes
much to this great son of Andhra Pradesh.
Today, as I address you, I am reminded of the profound spiritual and cultural bonds
which have existed between our two countries for well over a thousand years. The
first recorded history of the visit of the Indian sage from the plains of India to the
high mountains and valleys of Bhutan took place in the eighth century A.D. Guru
Padmasambhava, who studied in Nalanda University, visited Bhutan twice and laid
the foundation of Vajrayana Buddhism. In the succeeding centuries, many learned
Indian scholars visited Tibet and translated precious Buddhist manuscripts from
Sanskrit into the classical language used in Bhutan. While most of these manuscripts
were destroyed or lost in India over the past several millennia, they have been
preserved in our part of the world.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, and friends, it is not often that I come to South
India, and I would therefore, like to take this opportunity to say a few words about
my country and about Indo-Bhutan relations.
Bhutan is a country which is steeped in tradition and where cultural and spiritual
values which have come down through the ages still shape the lives of our people.
Although the winds of change are now blowing across Bhutan, and we have
embarked on an ambitious programme of modernization, we are still firmly
committed to the view that we should not lose our cultural heritage in the name of
progress. While hydro-electric projects, highways and factories may constitute the
new temples of a resurgent nation, we believe that the roots of a people must be
carefully nurtured and traditional values fostered, so that the trauma of material
change does not destroy the cultural identity of a people.
Politically, Bhutan has remained an independent country throughout history. When
large parts of Asia and Africa were under colonial domination, Bhutan managed to
retain its independence by closing its doors to the outside world and following a
policy of strict isolationism. Independent India, under the leadership of Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru and successive Prime Ministers, has always followed an
enlightened policy of friendship, understanding, trust and cooperation towards
Bhutan, which we have appreciated and fully reciprocated. When Bhutan decided to
enlarge its external contacts and join the international mainstream, India assisted us
actively. When Bhutan decided about two decades ago to embark on a programme
of rapid socio-economic development, India provided generous financial and
technical assistance. The policy on the part of India to befriend a small neighbour
like Bhutan has added a new dimension to the traditionally close relationship
between our two countries. May the friendship between India and Bhutan flourish
and prosper for all time to come! Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, and friends, it is a great honour for me not only to be the Chief Guest at the convocation today, but to visit Nagarjuna University to
inaugurate the Chair for Buddhist studies. My friend, the distinguished Foreign
Minister of India, His Excellency Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, a man of great vision and
wide accomplishments, has been the moving spirit behind this chair. For us, in
Bhutan, this is an occasion of great significance. Most of Acharya Nagarjuna’s works
on Bhuddhism are lost in the original Sanskrit, but they are preserved in Bhutan in
the volumes of our Tenjur. His works on Mahayana Buddhism are accepted as the
final source of reference by all the four major sects of Mahayana Buddhism. Many of
his works are taught even today in the monasteries of Bhutan. Acharya Nagarjuna
and his seat of learning in South India, namely Shri Parvata, are so greatly honoured
in Bhutan that in many of our prayers the wish is expressed that in our next life we
may be born in Shri Parvata. We, in Bhutan, therefore welcome the setting-up of this
chair and we shall participate actively in its work.
Before I conclude, I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to all those who
have received their degrees today. I wish you a purposeful, productive, and happy
life in the service of your people and in the never ending pursuit of learning and
excellence. I hope the timeless values and ideals of your rich and ancient culture will
inspire and sustain you as you go though life, and enable you to meet its many
I wish you all Tashi Delek!
Address to the People of Bhutan on the Coronation Day
June 2, 1974
Two years ago when my father passed away, all the Dratshangs (Monk Body),
officials and you, my people, placing your trust in me made me King. During
the short while that I have been on the throne, I have not been able to
render any great service to our country. However, I offer my pledge today
that I shall endeavour to serve our beloved country and people with fidelity
and to the best of my ability. From year to year, Bhutan is receiving increasing financial and technical
assistance from many countries. Among them, we have received the greatest
assistance from our good friend, India. Although the process of socioeconomic development was initiated in our country only a few years ago, we have achieved tremendous progress within a short span of time. In spite of this progress, our present internal revenue cannot meet even a fraction of our
government expenditure. Therefore, the most important task before us at
present is to achieve economic self-reliance to ensure the continued progress
of our country in the future. Bhutan has a small population, abundant land
and rich natural resources and sound planning on our part will enable us to
realize our aim of economic self-reliance in the near future.
As far as you, my people, are concerned, you should not adopt the attitude
that whatever is required to be done for your welfare will be done entirely by
the government. On the contrary, a little effort on your part will be much
more effective than a great deal of effort on the part of the government. If
the government and people can join hands and work with determination, our
people will achieve prosperity and our nation will become strong and stable.
In earlier times, when our country was passing through a critical period and
our people were suffering greatly due to civil wars and internal strife, Ugyen
Wangchuck was unanimously elected as the first hereditary king of Bhutan on
December 17, 1907, ushering in a period of great peace and happiness for
Bhutan. The fact that our country continues to enjoy peace and stability is
due to the blessings of our deities and the great loyalty and devotion shown
by the Dratshangs, officials and people of our kingdom.
The only message I have to convey to you today, my people, is that if
everyone of us consider ourselves Bhutanese, and think and act as one, and if
we have faith in the triple gem, our glorious Kingdom of Bhutan will grow
from strength to strength and achieve prosperity, peace and happiness.
Today we are extremely happy to have with us representatives of friendly
countries and other guests to participate in our celebrations. To you, my
people, and to all our guests I offer my Tashi Delek
Address to the Nation, National Day, Gelephu, December 17, 1978
Today is the auspicious day when Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned the First King of
Bhutan. Long ago, when our country was plagued by wars, internal strife and
poverty, it went through a very critical and difficult period of history. But when
Ugyen Wangchuck came to the throne, there was for the first time unity, prosperity
and happiness, and a new era of great peace and tranquility began. Hence, we
celebrate this day as our National Day. Until this year, we have never celebrated our
National Day in Southern Bhutan. It is because of this, that it gives me today a
special happiness to celebrate the National Day here in Gelephu with our people.
Our country’s national policy is to consolidate our sovereignty to achieve economic
self-reliance, prosperity and happiness for our country and people. Today, when our
country is passing through a crucial stage of development, the most important thing
is for the government and the people to work hand in hand in all our country’s
developmental efforts in order to achieve economic progress, attain self-reliance and
strengthen our national sovereignty. This is very important, because some of our
people must be thinking that large external aid and technical assistance are easily
available. There is, therefore, the temptation for us to lie idle and rely fully on
external assistance to accomplish our objectives and fulfill our national aspirations. It
is important for us to understand that too much dependency on outside aid will only
defeat our national goals and aspirations.
Although we are a small developing country, from the smallest development task,
the people and the government are today working together to accomplish and fulfill
our cherished national aspiration of economic self-reliance. In this respect, I am very
happy to tell you that even developed nations have praised such a policy as ours. I
want you all to know that I am very proud of your deep sense of duty, dedication,
loyalty, and the ability to sacrifice and show great determination in fulfilling our
hopes and dreams for the future of our beloved country.
I have often heard that some of our Southern Bhutanese people do not consider
themselves as true Bhutanese. Those of you, who think this cannot be true
Bhutanese because our people of Southern Bhutan are not people of Nepal nor are
you Indians from Kalimpong and Darjeeling. But there is a great difference and that
difference is because you are all people of the Palden Drukpa. All of us are like one
family. From tomorrow onwards, we will be holding developmental meetings and I will be
meeting your representatives and Mandals. I would like you to know that as far as
the development of Southern Bhutan is concerned in the field of animal husbandry,
agriculture, schools, hospitals, cash crops and overall development, I will myself
personally look after them. It is our desire to start such development work which will
be useful, beneficial and necessary to the people. As far as your individual problems
and difficulties are concerned, I want you to know that they will also be looked into
personally by me and I will try to solve them as in one family.
Today, for the future of our country, the most important thing is our people, and the
destiny of our country lies in our hands. I have full trust and confidence that, if today
the people and the government can work hand in hand with determination, fidelity,
and unity, and if we can all together develop our country with our own efforts, then
our country will march from strength to strength and enjoy eternal bliss. I would once again like to say how happy I am to be here to celebrate our National
Day in Gelephu and I want you to know that it gives me great happiness to be able
to see all the development works in Southern Bhutan and to be with our people. I
wish all our brothers and sisters Tashi Delek!
Address to the Nation, National Day, Trashiyangtse
December 17, 2005
As we celebrate our National Day today, we have only one and a half years left
before completing the Ninth Five Year Plan which was started in 2002. During this
Plan period we faced serious security challenges but successfully strengthened the
security of our nation.
The process of bringing about political changes has been progressing well and the
development plans and programmes of the Ninth Plan are being implemented
successfully for the well being of our people. Next year, the Tala Hydro-electric
Project will be completed and it will bring annual revenue of more than Nu 4,000
million. The revenue from this one project alone will greatly benefit the government
and people of Bhutan.
The level of economic self-reliance achieved by a nation is one of the important
measures of its status in the world as a sovereign, independent country. Achieving
economic self-reliance and being able to stand on our own feet is a very important
national objective that we have always strived to attain for Bhutan.
I am happy to mention that, by the year 2007, Bhutan will no longer be among the
countries categorized by the United Nations as least developed countries. While
other countries have taken hundreds of years to reach their present level of
development, for us in Bhutan, we have achieved tremendous socio-economic
development in every field in the 44 years since we first started implementing
development programmes. How much our country has developed and how the lives
of our people have changed and improved during this period in our own lifetime is
there for all of us to see. This unprecedented progress has been possible due to the sound policies followed by the government and sustained efforts of our people. The government and people of
Bhutan can be truly proud of this great achievement.
While drafting the Constitution of our country we have attached the highest
importance to ensuring the security and sovereignty of our nation and the interest
and kidu of our people. The highest importance was also given to ensuring that the
new political system will be able to serve the national interest of the country and
fulfill our people’s aspirations. The Constitution has been framed with the sole
objective of ensuring the long-term interest of our country and people.
During my consultations on the Constitution in the different dzongkhags, the main
concern of our people is that it is too early to introduce parliamentary democracy in
Bhutan. As our people know, Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdus were established in 1981
when we first started the policy of decentralisation. Thereafter, Gewog Yargay
Tshogchungs were introduced 10 years later in 1991. Furthermore, under the policy
of greater empowerment of the people, administrative and financial powers were
also given to the Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdus.
During the next two years in 2006 and 2007, the Election Commission will educate
our people in the process of parliamentary democracy and electoral practice sessions
will be conducted in all the 20 dzongkhags. After 26 years of the process of
decentralisation and devolution of powers to the people, I have every confidence that our people will be able to choose the best political party that can provide good
governance and serve the interest of the nation. I would like our people to know that
the first national election to elect a government under a system of parliamentary
democracy will take place in 2008.
I would also like our people to know that the Chhoetse Penlop will be enthroned as
the Fifth Druk Gyalpo in 2008. As it is necessary and important for a King to gain as
much experience as possible to serve his country to his fullest capacity, I will be
delegating my responsibilities to the Chhoetse Penlop before 2008. It is my wish and
prayer that during the reign of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Palden
Drukpa will remain strong and glorious, that our country will achieve greater
prosperity with the sun of peace and happiness shining on our people, that all the
national objectives of the country and the hopes and aspirations of our people will be
fulfilled and the Bhutanese people will enjoy a greater level of contentment and
Today, on the auspicious occasion of our National Day, I would like to express my
Tashi Delek to our people in all the 20 dzongkhags. Address to the Nation, National Day, Mongar, December 17, 2004
Today, as we celebrate the auspicious occasion of our National Day, there is good
reason for all of us to be grateful and happy that we no longer face the serious
threat to the security of our country from the presence of the militants over the last
As our people are aware, the National Constitution Committee started the important
task of drafting the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan from 2001. I am happy to
announce that we have now completed the Draft Constitution and it has been
presented to the Lhengye Zhungtshog.
In drafting the Constitution, the greatest importance was attached to safeguarding
and strengthening the sovereignty and security of our nation and promoting the
interest and well being of the Bhutanese people. The highest importance was also
attached to the establishment of parliamentary democracy and a system of
government that will provide good governance and fulfill the aspirations of our
The Draft Constitution will be distributed to all the 20 dzongkhags next year so that
our people can study it and be fully aware of its contents. Following this, I will be
personally visiting every dzongkhag to meet with our people and hold discussions
and consultations on all issues regarding the Constitution. Only after completing the
consultations with our people in all the dzongkhags will the adoption of the
Constitution take place.
It has now been two and a half years since we started the 9th Five Year Plan. As you
are all aware, under the policy of greater decentralization and empowerment of the
people, the Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdu and the Geog Yargye Tshogchung have
been given full administrative, policy making and financial powers in their respective
dzongkhags. Therefore, the success of development programmes will now be
determined by the decisions taken by the people and the quality of their participation
in implementing them.
I have every confidence that our people will shoulder their responsibility well and
that the administrative, policy making and financial powers given to them by the
government will be utilized properly to ensure the progress and development of the
dzongkhags, especially in the rural sector.
This year, we have over 155,000 students studying in our schools and educational
institutions. One of the greatest concerns for the government today is in providing
gainful employment to our youth. At a time when our country is developing very
rapidly and our people are becoming more prosperous every year, if Bhutanese
citizens are to benefit from the progress taking place and find good jobs, we will
have to give priority to the establishment of industries for which the government
must strengthen and develop the private sector.
It is necessary for the government and the private sector in Bhutan to work together
hand in hand and provide employment to our people. It is an important responsibility
of the Royal Government to ensure that a time does not come when Bhutanese
people cannot find employment in their own country. Such a situation must never be
allowed to arise. Two of the most important factors for ensuring the development of our rural sector
are the establishment of roads and the availability of power in our villages. In this
regard, the Kurichhu Hydro-electric Project has greatly benefited the rural people
and business community in the six dzongkhags of eastern Bhutan as well as in
Zhemgang and Sarpang.
Now that the presence of the militants has been removed from Nganglam, the
government will reactivate the establishment of the Dungsam Cement Project which
will provide jobs for our people and business opportunities for the private sector.
Furthermore, the Tala Hydro-electric Project is expected to be completed by the year
2006. The sale of electricity from this project will go a long way towards enabling us
to achieve our national goal of economic self-reliance. In the world today, it is an
important measure of a nation’s status as a sovereign, independent country to
remove the need for aid assistance and achieve economic self-reliance. Therefore,
we must all make every effort to fulfill this important national objective.
In December last year, with every effort made to find a peaceful solution to the
problem of the three militant organizations who had established camps on our soil
having failed to yield any results, we were left with no other choice but to use the
security forces of Bhutan, as a last resort, to remove their presence from our
country. The successful removal of this serious security threat has greatly
strengthened the well being and sovereignty of our country. As citizens of a small
landlocked country with a population of just over 500,000, it is vital for the
Bhutanese people to be fully conscious of how important it is for them to be always
ready to shoulder the sacred responsibility of safeguarding the security and
sovereignty of our nation.
When our country was going through a very critical and difficult period, the armed
forces served the Tsa-Wa-Sum with dedication and commitment, placing the country
above their lives in defending the security of the Palden Drukpa. In recognition of
their loyal and outstanding service to the nation, we will be awarding medals to the
officers and men of the Royal Bhutan Army, the Royal Body Guards, the Royal
Bhutan Police and the Militia Volunteers on this auspicious occasion of our National
Last year, when we were facing a conflict situation and our country was going
through a difficult period in its history, His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the Zhung
Dratshang, the Dratshangs and Gomdeys of the 20 dzongkhags, the Shedras and
Drubdras, civil servants, the business community and our people, all united together
and came forward with one mind to support our security forces and to perform the
sacred Kurims to ensure the success of the military operations and the well being of
the country, for which I would like to express deep gratitude and appreciation.
On the auspicious occasion of our National Day, I would like to wish Tashi Delek to
all our people in the 20 dzongkhags. Address to the Nation, National Day, Samtse, December 17, 1981
Today, the 17th of December, I have great pleasure in sharing with you the
happiness of celebrating our National Day here at Samtse. It was on this day in 1907
that Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck ascended the throne of our country and brought
peace, stability and unity in a country that was torn with internal strife, war, disunity,
famine and diseases. It was he who gave this nation the reason to hope for a better
future of happiness and prosperity, and the will to strive together for it. It is for
these reasons that we celebrate December 17, as our National Day.
Our Fourth Plan ends this year and the Fifth Plan will begin in 1982. A great amount
of thinking and efforts have been devoted to the formulation of the country’s Fifth
Plan. In order to achieve our national goal of economic self-reliance, many new
policies and development strategies have been conceived and adopted. If I am to
sum up the Fifth Plan policies, the following five points encompass the essential
aspects of all policies and development strategies.
The first policy is to bring about dzongkhag self-reliance. Towards this purpose,
specific plans have been prepared for each dzongkhag with the objective of making
them economically self-sustaining in the shortest possible time, taking into account
the local characteristics, potentials and needs. The practice, so far, has been to make
only one National Plan that covered all the dzongkhags in the country.
The second policy is the decentralization of administration and implementation of
Dzongkhag Plans. This policy is directed at bringing about greater involvement of
local officials and people in the formulation and implementation of Dzongkhag Plans.
Under this policy the Royal Government has so far appointed 31 competent and
senior officers in various dzongkhags. These are in addition to those officers already
transferred along with the decentralized programmes.
The third policy is to reduce expenditure on government establishment. The
establishment of the government during the Fifth Plan had been initially estimated at
Nu 144 crores. However, after extensive discussions and with great difficulties, the
total establishment cost has been reduced by Nu 29.14 crores. It is our policy to
reduce such costs even further wherever possible, since this is recognized as one of
the key factors in our effort to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
The fourth policy is to increase the revenue of the government. In order to fulfill this
policy objective, we propose to invest Nu 50 crores in revenue generating industries
such as wood and mineral based industries and other economically profitable
venture. In doing so, we hope to be able to raise our net national revenue from Nu
19 crores in the Fourth Plan to Nu 60 crores during the Fifth Plan.
The fifth and the most important policy is to motivate and mobilize people’s
participation in all developmental activities. The time has now come when the people
must realize and be grateful to the government for what it has done for their welfare
and development. We all must now respond positively and participate actively in all
the development programmes that will have to be implemented during the Fifth Plan.
If we are to achieve the objectives and aspirations outlined in our policies and
programmes, it is important that we do not leave these on paper or in our minds
only, but implement them in reality. If we are able to successfully implement the programmes envisaged for the Fifth Plan, the government will be in a position to
meet the maintenance costs of essential services such as Education, Health, P.W.D.,
Power, Telephone and Wireless and Dzongkhag Administration from our internal
At present, not one of the 18 dzongkhags is self-sustaining and as such the nation is
going through difficult times. For example, during the Fourth Plan period, the
government incurred a total expenditure exceeding Nu 200 crores of which Nu 63
crores was spent on establishment alone. Against this vast expenditure, our total net
revenue for the five years was Nu 19 crores only. This could not meet more than a
small fraction of the total cost of our establishment, let alone meeting any
development costs. Therefore, our country is in a very critical financial position.
All of us today must be aware of economic self-reliance. To stand on our own feet is
vitally important for the sovereignty and independence of our country.
With regard to development activities in your dzongkhag for the Fifth Plan, we have
had extensive discussions with your DYT members and village representatives. We
have together decided on your Fifth Plan programmes. As the details would be too
long, I shall only explain the gist of the plan to you. During the Fourth Plan period,
we had spent Nu 6.46 crores on development activities in Samtse dzongkhag. In
comparison, we shall be embarking on development programmes involving over Nu
20.46 crores. While the Fourth Plan revenue was only Nu 4.70 crores, in the Fifth
Plan, our objective is to generate as much revenue as possible with a minimum
target of Nu 12 crores.
The establishment and maintenance costs for various development activities in
Samtse will be approximately Nu 12.41 crores. Therefore, Samtse dzongkhag will not
become totally self-sustaining.
Nevertheless, we are hopeful that Samtse will be able to meet 90 percent of its
establishment costs from its revenue. I realize that this will be very difficult, but it is
possible and I hope that by the end of the Fifth Plan, Samtse dzongkhag will be very
close to self-sufficiency.
I am convinced that if we are to achieve our goals and objectives of the Fifth Plan,
the determining strength which we must all understand and recognize, is ourselves.
So long as the people and government work together, hand in hand with one
thought and direction, with willingness to make sacrifices, show loyalty and
dedication dearer than our own lives, then there is no objective that cannot be
achieved. It is such spirit and zeal that will ensure that Palden Drukpa will continue
to prosper and grow from strength to strength.
On this auspicious occasion, it is my prayer that our hopes and aspirations in the
Fifth Plan to bring success and prosperity to the people of this country will
materialize through our dedicated and united efforts.
It gives me special happiness to have been able to discuss development programmes
of your dzongkhag and share this National Day celebration with you, together as one
I wish you all Tashi Delek!
Address to the Nation, National Day, Mongar, December 17, 1980
On this day in 1907 Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously elected as the first
king of Bhutan by the people. Prior to his ascension to the throne, the country had
undergone a critical and dark period of strife, internal unrest and poverty. From the
day Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck ascended the throne, he ushered in peace,
happiness and stability. That is the reason why we attach great significance to this
occasion and celebrate it as our National Day.
Today, our national policy and aspiration is to remain a sovereign and independent
country and to develop and achieve economic self-reliance, prosperity, peace and
happiness for our people.
Having started our first development plan in 1961, we are now approaching the end
of the Fourth Plan. Although twenty years have lapsed, today not a single dzongkhag
out of 18 has become self-sufficient. I would like, as an illustration, to tell you that in
1979 our country’s total revenue was Nu 60 million, while the total expenditure on
development was over Nu 270 million.
If we are to achieve and fulfill our dreams and aspirations, the most important factor
above everything is ourselves. Our greatest strength lies in our people. United as
one, there is no goal that cannot be achieved and no problem that cannot be
overcome. It is imperative that the people and the government unite and work hand
in hand in developing and building a better future for our country.
Now regarding development works in Mongar, I will be meeting your Dzongkhag
Yargye Tshogchung, Gups and peoples’ representatives along with the officials of
different departments and we will be discussing about your Fifth Plan. Up to now,
there has been only one overall plan for all 18 dzongkhags, which, was made in
Thimphu. From the Fifth Plan, the government, in close consultation with the people,
will make one plan for every dzongkhag specifically geared towards achieving
economic self-reliance. By the end of the Fifth Plan, I am confident that at least five
dzongkhags can become self-sustaining. For the Fifth Plan, we are tentatively
thinking about a total budget of Nu 60 million for development in Mongar. This
money will be spent in improving the quality and consolidating the services that we
already have, mobilizing our resources and developing manpower so as to become
self-sustaining within the next five to six years.
In the world today, there are only a few countries that enjoy the same peace,
tranquility and happiness that we in Bhutan do. If we are to enjoy this continued
peace and stability, then all of us, the people and the government must be fully
prepared to make sacrifices, show determination, loyalty and unite as one to serve
our beloved Palden Drukpa.
I am very happy to be here in Mongar and to be able to celebrate our National Day
together with you.
I wish you all Tashi Delek.
Address to the Nation, National Day, Dungsam, December 17, 1979
Today is the auspicious day on which King Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned.
Prior to his enthronement, our country went through a very critical and
difficult period plagued by disease, famine, wars and incessant internal strife.
Only after King Ugyen Wangchuck came upon the throne, did our country
begin a new era of great peace, happiness and prosperity. It is because of
this, we celebrate this great day as the National Day of Bhutan.
The national policy of our country today is to consolidate and strengthen our
sovereignty and independence and achieve greater self-reliance by producing
within the country what we require for the development and prosperity of our
country. For the fulfillment of our national aspirations, the most important
factor is the close cooperation and participation of the people and their
willingness to work together with the government.
I want you all to know that the strength of our country today is ourselves. We
are the wealth and jewel of our country and the destiny and future of our
beloved country lies with us all. It is, therefore, important and crucial that we
unite and mobilize ourselves, show determination and put greater efforts in
developing our country. If this is done, then our country will grow from
strength to strength.
The planned economic development of our country was started from 1961.
Although great changes have been brought about by the developments
during the last 19 years, we should not be satisfied but realize that we are
still going through a critical phase of development: leave alone the
achievement of national self-reliance, not even a single district today is able
to sustain itself.
Therefore, from the beginning of the Fifth Five-Year Plan, which begins in
1981, great importance is going to be given to planning for achieving district
By the end of the Fifth Five-Year Plan, we hope that at least five to six
districts will be self-sustaining. This task is a difficult one but if we give special
priority in developing each district according to its own potential and if we are
able to mobilize our manpower and other resources; there is no goal that we
As far as the development of Dungsam district is concerned, I will personally
take up the responsibility of carrying out all the developmental programmes in
the field of agriculture, animal husbandry, education, health, construction of
bridges, irrigation channels and small scale industries. Since the government
has decided to put greater efforts to develop Dungsam, you, the people must
also take this opportunity and contribute your best efforts in developing your
own district. In another two to three years, when the results of the development
programmes begin to show, I hope I will be able to think of this day with
pride and deep satisfaction. I also hope that you all will remember this day as
the happy occasion when you decided to initiate the development
programmes of your district.
Today, when all the countries of the world are passing through a difficult and
critical period of internal strife, wars and catastrophes, our country is enjoying
peace and happiness. This is because we are a Buddhist country and also
because all of us live united as one large family with a deep sense of loyalty
I want you all to know if the government and the people can unite as one,
work together in hand and hand and be willing to sacrifice even ourselves in
fulfilling our national aspirations, then our beloved Palden Drukpa will be
glorious for all the time to come. If any of you have grievances and serious
domestic problems, I will be able to meet you during the next two days after
the National Day celebrations and we can discuss the problems together as
members of one family.
I am very happy that we celebrate our National Day in Dungsam this year and
for having the opportunity to start developmental work, and being able to
meet you all.
I wish all of you Tashi Delek on this auspicious occasion.
Address on the Opening Day of the 37th Session of the National
Assembly, September 10, 1972
I wish to address this Assembly today briefly on the subject of the passing
away of my late father His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who was the
parent of our country’s welfare and our most beloved and precious ruler. To
the great misfortune of the nation His Majesty fell seriously ill sometime ago
and departed for Nairobi, the capital of Kenya to receive treatment. Despite
the medical attention and religious ceremonies performed for his recovery,
His Majesty suddenly passed away there at 10.30 pm on July 21, 1972.
Terrible grief has, therefore, come to us all as if night had fallen during the
light of day. Speaking for myself also, the personal sorrow on the demise of
my own father is indeed very great.
However, just as we having been born will all have to die, it should be
remembered that my father has only succumbed to the transient nature of
worldly existence. Our grief is also somewhat lessened when we recall that
during the period of His Majesty’s lifetime, besides serving him well and with
full loyalty, none of us acted other than in accordance with his wishes. Now,
there is no benefit to be gained by abiding in our grief and I am sure it would
be much better if, instead, you all prayed for his departed soul.
During His Late Majesty’s reign, all his actions were qualified by his desire to
benefit the nation. It is as a result of this that Bhutan, from being a remote
and isolated country, has now entered into the mainstream of world affairs.
All of you are aware that His Late Majesty not only acted for the present and
immediate welfare of the country but also looked to its future security.
With regard to the cremation rites of my late father, the most fitting place for
its performance may be seen to be Thimphu as the capital. However, when
His Majesty was suffering an illness at Phuentsholing last year, he said that
since all his forebears had been cremated at the temple of Kurjey Lhakhang in
Bumthang, he himself would be very pleased if the same could be done for
him. The preparations we are making for His Late Majesty’s cremation
ceremonies at Kurjey Lhakhang are, therefore, in accordance with his will.
In respect of the government works which we share and which have to be
undertaken from now on, I feel that for some time it would be best to
continue in line with the wise policies laid down by my father.
Although I myself do not possess wide experience in government work, I shall
be able to consult with the Royal Advisory Council and with the Lhengye
Zhuntshog. In addition to this, it will be convenient to refer important matters
of state to the bi-annual meetings of the Assembly. Speaking for myself, I
have an earnest desire to serve our beloved country and its people as best as
I can. I also hope that all of you, the monks of the state monasteries, the
government servants and the public will assist me as well as you assisted my
late father. With regard to the question of regency, in Clause No. 7 of an agreement
drawn up by this Assembly, there is a provision for the appointment of a
Council of Regents by this Assembly until I reach 21 years of age. It will be
very useful, therefore, if you can pass a resolution as to who should be
appointed to this Council of Regents.
I would also like to say that I hope very much that our relations with the
Government of India, which has been so greatly assisting us up to the
present, will grow even stronger.
The state of peace and happiness which our country has been able to enjoy
up to the present is in general due to the fact that since ours is a Buddhist
country everyone is able to give recognition to the Lord Buddha, the Dharma,
and the Sangha and, therefore, believe in the Law of Cause and Effect. In
particular, our condition of peace and happiness is due to the strong and
undefiled sense of faith and loyalty which has existed between the ruler and
the subjects. I believe that if the Monk Body, the government servants and
the public give careful consideration to the welfare of the Kingdom and
dedicate their full loyalty, the Kingdom will be able to enjoy its state of peace
and prosperity for a long time to come Address during the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Enthronement
of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Thimphu, June 2, 1999
The celebration today is not to commemorate my reign as king for the last 25
years. We are here today to celebrate the successful achievement of all our
national goals and objectives, the implementation of our development policies
and programmes, the fulfillment of the aspirations of our people and the
promotion of our collective well-being and happiness. It is for this reason that
we celebrate today.
In the world at large, many countries today are still plagued by famine,
disease, internal strife and wars with millions of people facing great hardships
and sufferings. Here in Bhutan, even though we are a small, land-locked
country, we have been very fortunate and the Bhutanese people must cherish
the peace and the stability that our nation has enjoyed over the years. In
keeping with the times, it is very important for the government and the
people to always place the interest of the country above everything else and
serve our country with love and dedication.
From the time when I was 16 years of age, you, my people have placed full
faith and trust in me and always given me your unstinted support. It is
because of our people’s active support and participation that we have been
able to fulfill our national objectives and achieve rapid economic progress for
our country. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to express my
deep appreciation and gratitude to the clergy, the government, our security
forces, the business community and to all our people in the 20 dzongkhags of
Ever since Bhutan embarked on the path of planned development, we have
received unstinted assistance, goodwill and cooperation from our close friend
and neighbour, India. We have also received generous assistance,
cooperation and goodwill from many friendly donor countries and the United
Nations and its specialized agencies and organizations. Today, on behalf of
the government and the people of Bhutan, I would like to express our
deepest gratitude to all our friends and donors. It is our hope and prayer that
our close friendship and goodwill between Bhutan and all our friends will
remain forever harmonious.
Although we started planned development only 38 years ago in 1961, we
have achieved greater progress and development than many other countries,
which began development much earlier. In the past 38 years, our country has
achieved unprecedented development and the well-being and quality of life of
our people have been greatly enhanced. At the same time, we have been
able to strengthen our unique national identity through the promotion and
preservation of our culture and tradition. Another area from which we can
draw much satisfaction is our success in the preservation of our natural
environment, which has become an outstanding example for the rest of the
world. The Bhutanese people have many reasons to be truly happy and proud of our achievements.
Since the beginning of our recorded history dating back to the 7th century,
Bhutan has survived and remained as a sovereign, independent country,
which has never been subjugated or colonized by anyone. Today, as you all
are aware, a most serious threat to the security of our country is posed by
the presence of armed militants from Assam inside our territory. It is of
utmost importance for the security of our country to make these militants
leave our territory as soon as possible. However difficult it may be, we must
do whatever is necessary to achieve this objective. I give my pledge to take
full responsibility to safeguard and ensure the security and well-being of our
As a king, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that our
people are able to participate actively in the governance of the country and
safeguard our national interests. It was to achieve this objective that we
introduced important political changes last year. Strengthening the security of
the country, promoting our national interests and ensuring the present and
future well-being of the Bhutanese people were kept foremost in mind while
bringing about these changes. I wish to remind you all that it is of utmost
importance for the government and the people to always place the national
interests above everything else, in our thoughts as well as actions, and to
work together in perfect harmony in the service of our country.
Many of our students are here today to take part in the celebrations. I would
like to remind you all that it is very important for you to study hard and take
full advantage of the education that the government is providing to our youth.
After completing your studies, each and every one of you must endeavour to
serve your government and country with full loyalty and dedication, and
aspire to contribute in some way towards the progress and well-being of our
country. I have always pointed out that the future of our country, whether it
is lifted high or brought down, lies in the hands of our younger generation.
Your actions will determine the future of our nation and we place our
complete faith and hope in you to fulfill our dreams and aspirations for our
country. It is because of this that all of us are inspired to work hard today so
that we can prepare our youth of Bhutan to shoulder this great responsibility,
which lies ahead of us.
I would like to inform our people that, the Government of India has agreed to
a considerable increase in the Chukha power tariff. This revenue increase will
have many benefits for our government and country. It will go a long way in
fulfilling our national goal of economic self-reliance. I am happy to mention
that with this considerable enhancement in our revenue, it will not be
necessary to introduce the proposed personal income tax for the time being.
Furthermore, the government is now proposing to increase the pay and
allowances of our civil servants and security force personnel from the
beginning of our financial year in July. I would like to express, on behalf of
the government and people of Bhutan, our deep appreciation to our close
friend and neighbour, India. The introduction of television and Internet in Bhutan today is a reflection of
the level of progress that we have achieved. I would like to remind our youth
that television and Internet provide a whole range of possibilities, which can
be both beneficial as well as negative for the individual and the society. I
trust that you will exercise your good sense and judgment in using the
Internet and television. It is my sincere hope that the introduction of
television and Internet in Bhutan will be beneficial to our people and country.
Bhutan is a Buddhist country that has been enriched by the teachings of Lord
Buddha and blessed as a hidden paradise by Guru Rimpoche. Our country has
been fortunate to have a wise and beloved father of nation in Zhabdrung
Ngawang Namgyal to whom we owe everlasting gratitude and fidelity both as
a great statesman and ruler and as a revered religious leader. It is my hope
and prayer that the glorious country of the Palden Drukpa will prosper for all
time to come. May the sun of happiness shine forever on our country and
may the people of Bhutan enjoy everlasting peace, progress and
I am very happy that we are able to take part together in this celebration
today like members of one close family. On this happy and auspicious
occasion, I extend my Tashi Delek to all our people throughout our 20
dzongkhags of Bhutan.
Address during the Presentation of Credentials by the Nepalese
Ambassador to Bhutan, October 31, 1983
We have great pleasure in accepting your Letter of Credence accrediting you
as the first Ambassador of the Kingdom of Nepal to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
This is a historic occasion. After many centuries of friendship and good
neighbourly relations, our mutual desire to have closer relations has found
fulfillment in the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between our two
We have much in common. We share many values and ideals because of our
common cultural and spiritual roots. Our perception of the outside world has
been deeply influenced by our geographic location and the least developed
nature of our economies. In order to promote an international environment
conducive to the promotion of our national interests and the general welfare
of mankind, both our governments adhere firmly to the Charter of the United
Nations and the principles and objectives of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Closer home, we are both determined to make South Asian Regional
Cooperation a reality, in order to usher in a new era of trust and fruitful
cooperation in our region. Internally, our two governments are striving hard
to promote socio-economic development, in order to improve the living
standards of our peoples and to add dignity to their lives. The establishment
of formal diplomatic relations will undoubtedly enable us to enhance our
cooperation in many ways to our mutual benefit.
We have had the pleasure of meeting His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram
Shah Dev on several occasions, and we have been deeply impressed by his
wisdom and vision, and his spirit of selfless dedication to the welfare of his
subjects. Nepal has achieved great progress in the recent years under his
wise and enlightened rule. Please convey our warmest greetings to Their
Majesties the King and Queen of Nepal and our sincere good wishes for their
happiness and personal wellbeing.
We would like to assure you of our fullest support in your efforts to
strengthen the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between our
two Kingdoms. May your mission be blessed with every success.
Address during the Presentation of Credentials by the AmbassadorDesignate of Bangladesh to Bhutan, May 18, 1973
On this auspicious occasion, my government and people share my great
happiness in accepting the credentials accrediting Your Excellency as the first
Ambassador of Bangladesh to Bhutan. I am confident that we are laying the
foundation of friendship between our two countries, which will endure for all
time to come.
During your national liberation movement in 1971, our people rose as one
under the leadership of my late father to support your just and heroic
struggle for freedom. On the 17th of December, our entire nation was thrilled
to hear the momentous news of the liberation of Bangladesh. As the 17th
December is also the National Day of Bhutan, the two events were celebrated
throughout our country with great happiness and rejoicing.
When my father passed away last year, we were deeply moved by your
government’s kind gesture in sending a delegation to Thimphu to offer your
personal condolence to my people and family. As in the past, so in the future
I hope that this spirit of good-neighbourliness will continue, and the people of
our two countries will continue to share in each other’s joys and sorrows.
Your Excellency, of the many links of history, trade and geography that bind
us together, may I add that we share a pressing common goal, namely, that
of working through a policy of Non-Alignment to achieve a durable peace in
our region as a whole, in order to ensure the security of our countries, and
thereby enable us to concentrate our efforts and our resources on promoting
the welfare of our people. I hope that our two governments will work closely
together in the pursuit of this vital goal.
My welcome to Your Excellency today would not be complete if I did not
mention the role of our common friend, India, in promoting peace and
progress in the region of South and South-East Asia. India, to my mind, has
made an invaluable contribution to the development of economic and other
cooperation between the countries of the region on the basis of equality and
mutual benefit. I would like to express the hope that India will continue to
play this constructive and positive role in the future also.
May I wish Your Excellency a happy mission to Bhutan and every other
success in your efforts to further strengthen the existing bonds of friendship,
understanding and cooperation between our two countries. Your Excellency
may rest assured that you will receive full cooperation from my government
and myself in your noble endeavour. On behalf of my government and people, and on my own behalf, I would like to convey through Your Excellency, our warmest greetings and good wishes to the President and the government and people of Bangladesh.
I would also like to take this opportunity of wishing the Father of Your Nation,
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a long and blessed life, for a precious
jewel like him does not belong to Bangladesh alone, but to all humanity.
Tashi Delek !
Address during the Presentation of Credentials by the Ambassador
of India to Bhutan, October 10, 1980
Excellency, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today as the
Ambassador of India to Bhutan. I have every confidence that Your Excellency
will make very significant contributions in further strengthening the friendship
between our two countries. I would like to assure you of the fullest
cooperation of my government and myself, in all your efforts.
Bhutan and India, in recent years have developed closer cooperation in social,
economic, political and other fields. The friendship and understanding
between our two countries continues to grow steadily, and it shall be my firm
endeavour to strengthen it further in the years ahead.
I recall with great pleasure and satisfaction my visit to New Delhi last
February, and the fruitful discussions I had with the President and Prime
Minister of India, and with other senior Indian leaders, on bilateral, regional
and international issues. The discussions enabled us to better understand
each other’s points of view on various issues of mutual interest, and certainly
contributed to further strengthening of trust and understanding between our
It is the cherished goal of the people of Bhutan to build a self-reliant and
prosperous nation. We deeply appreciate the generous assistance and
cooperation extended to us for our socio-economic development during the
past two decades. I am confident that with such assistance and goodwill of
the people and Government of India, we will continue making further
progress in accomplishing our national aspiration.
On this happy auspicious occasion, I would like to request Your Excellency to
convey to the President of India, and to the government and the people of
India, the warmest greetings of my government and people, and our sincere
hopes that the ties of friendship, understanding, trust, and cooperation
between our two countries will grow even stronger with the passage of time.
I wish Your Excellency a most pleasant stay and successful mission in Bhutan.
Address during the Presentation of Credentials by the Ambassador
of Bangladesh, January 25, 1984
We have great pleasure in accepting your Letter of Credence, accrediting you
as Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the Kingdom of
Ever since your war of Independence, which we wholeheartedly supported,
Bangladesh and her talented people have occupied a special place in our
hearts. The deep-rooted ties of geography, history and culture have been
reinforced by our common interests and aspirations. We have similar
perceptions on many regional and international issues, which are of concern
and importance to us. These ties find expression in our commitment and
dedication to principles and objectives of the United Nations, of Non-Aligned
Movement and South Asian Regional Cooperation.
Bilateral relations between our two countries have evolved in a highly
satisfactory manner. We have maintained a close cooperation in all
international and regional fora. We have periodically exchanged high level
delegations between our two countries. The visit of Foreign Minister Doha to
Thimphu last April was an important step forward. The visit of our Foreign
Minister to Dhaka last November was extremely useful. There is a keen desire
on the part of both our governments to develop the trade and commercial
relations. Given the numerous bonds that unite us and the abundant affection
and goodwill, which exist between our two peoples, the potentials for
establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between Bangladesh and
Bhutan are numerous.
We look forward to our visit to Dhaka early next month and the opportunity
this will provide to renew our personal friendship with the distinguished
President of Bangladesh His Excellency H. M. Ershad. We would also like to
see for ourselves the sweeping social and economic changes, which have
taken place in Bangladesh under a dynamic and dedicated leadership.
Your Excellency, we would like to wish you every success in your efforts to
strengthen friendship, understanding and cooperation between our two
countries. We would like to assure you of the fullest cooperation of our
government in the attainment of your noble mission. We would also like to
wish you and your family a happy and pleasant stay in Bhutan.
On this auspicious occasion, please convey our warmest greetings and good
wishes to the President and the government and people of Bangladesh.
Address during the Dantak Week Celebrations, December 11, 1977
The Dantak Project in Bhutan began in 1961. Since then, they have
constructed over 1400 kms of road within the country. These roads have not
only played a very important role in Bhutan’s development but have immense
benefit to every individual in Bhutan. The Dantak personnel faced many great
hardships while constructing these roads. Many were injured and some even
sacrificed their lives. We are grateful to the Dantak for such selfless
dedication and sacrifices for our country. It is because of this, that we have
gathered here today to celebrate the Dantak Week as a large family.
We have great hopes that the Dantak and the people of Bhutan will work
hand in hand together from now on to accomplish the many important tasks
that lie ahead of us. The people and the Government of Bhutan will make
every effort to take an active part in sharing with the Dantak the many
responsibilities that they have borne so far with sincere dedication for our
Bhutan-India friendship is very important for both our countries. Because of
this importance, I went to Delhi to meet the leaders of the new government
in order to reaffirm and strengthen our friendship. I had great pleasure in
meeting your Prime Minister, Mr. Morarji Desai with whom I had very frank
and fruitful discussions. Since then the Government of India has sent a very
good and sincere man in the person of Mr. Hiremath as India’s new
Representative to Bhutan. Mr. Hiremath has already played a very important
role in further strengthening the friendship and creating confidence between
the peoples of the two countries. The recent visit of your Foreign Minister Mr.
Vajpayee to Thimphu, has also created further understanding and goodwill
between our countries. I was heartened by the assurance of the assistance of
the Government of India in achieving our goal of economic self-reliance.
All these recent developments have greatly strengthened the friendship
between our two countries. Above all, I want you to know that the Dantak
has made the greatest contribution to this friendship through their dedication
and hard work. I am confident that the Dantak will not only shoulder the
responsibilities of building our roads but will also take equal responsibility in
strengthening Bhutan-India friendship with the same dedication and hard
I am happy that I have been able to meet you all during my participation in
the Dantak Week celebrations.
Finally, on behalf of my people, my government, and all of us who are here
today, I would like to express our appreciation for your hard work and
dedication. I wish Brigadier Sachdev and all ranks of the Dantak ‘Tashi Delek.’
Address at the Second SAARC Summit, Bangalore, India
November 16 -17, 1986
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin by congratulating you warmly, Mr. Chairman, on your
assumption of the stewardship of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation. We have entrusted you with the responsibility of leading our
regional body for the next twelve months. Over the past two years, you have
demonstrated great courage and wisdom in resolving many difficult problems
both at home and in the international field. We are confident that SAARC will
gain strength and vitality under your able and farsighted leadership.
It is indeed gratifying that our second summit is taking place in one of the
most beautiful cities of a country with which Bhutan enjoys close ties of
friendship and cooperation. I have been greatly touched by the warm
reception and generous hospitality accorded to me and the members of my
delegation since our arrival in Bangalore. I would like to express our deep
appreciation to the government and people of India for the excellent
arrangements made for this meeting.
May I also express our deep gratitude to His Excellency President Hussain
Muhammad Ershad of Bangladesh for his dynamic leadership of SAARC during
his tenure as Chairman. His goodwill visits to SAARC countries have fostered a
greater degree of understanding among us and strengthened the foundations
of our young association. The inspiring guidance that he has provided to
SAARC during its initial period will enable us to build on the progress already
At the historic Dhaka Summit, we established the framework of our
association in a spirit of hope and enthusiasm marked with realism. The
solemn commitment we made then to bring about a new era in inter-state
relations in South Asia must remain the driving force for the future. We must
maintain the momentum of our cooperative endeavour and realize the full
potential of our association for promoting peace, progress and unity in our
Mr. Chairman, SAARC provides our seven countries with a new dimension in
our foreign policy perspectives. We now have a forum for regular dialogue
and consultation on matters of common interest. We have the opportunity to
expand regional cooperation within this framework without impinging on our
bilateral relations. At the same time, our regional interactions can contribute
greatly towards enhancing goodwill and friendship among our member states.
It would be unrealistic of us to overlook the influence that would be exerted
on the effectiveness of SAARC by the political climate of our region. Keeping
this in mind, the potential of our association to create a congenial political climate in South Asia must be fully utilized. We must, also, inculcate in the
minds of our peoples a sense of regional consciousness. We must encourage
people-to-people contacts at all levels in order to bring about a greater
awareness of each other and to generate a spirit of friendship and
understanding in our region. The development of mutual trust and confidence
at the people’s level will go a long way in strengthening the hands of our
governments to overcome past inhibitions and to take positive steps towards
achieving peace and development in South Asia.
Mr. Chairman, SAARC must take a firm and united stand on the question of
global disarmament which has long been the focal point of numerous
conferences and resolutions. We must give our full support to the various
international bodies that have attached great importance and devoted
unwavering attention to this issue. We must continue to call upon the Super
Powers to renew their dialogue at the highest level and to take concrete steps
towards gradual and complete disarmament.
In our own region, it has become necessary to take note of the increasing
possibility of the development of nuclear weapons. We must make every
effort to reverse this ominous trend. To this end, SAARC can and must play a
decisive role by fostering better understanding among ourselves and creating
an atmosphere conducive to the amicable settlement of differences and the
promotion of peace and harmony.
In the current international economic situation, where the calls for NorthSouth negotiations and greater South-South cooperation have yet to produce
tangible results, SAARC has a vital role to play in improving the quality of life
of our peoples. We must intensify cooperation among member countries and
harness the full potential of our region to emerge as a new area of economic
growth. The one billion people of South Asia constitute one of the world’s
largest markets in terms of population. The region’s rich endowments of
water and minerals resources and fertile land are precious assets that have
yet to be fully developed. We also have a vast reservoir of skilled and
unskilled manpower and the technological capabilities to manufacture
sophisticated products. We must set aside the legacies of the past and fully
exploit our inherent capacity for economic growth. It is only through an
environment of peace and stability and intensive national and collective
efforts that South Asia can become one of the most prosperous regions of the
Bhutan is pleased that a consensus has emerged on the establishment of the
SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu. This Secretariat will be an important
instrument to promote our objectives. It will contribute to the successful
execution of various SAARC activities through effective follow-up, monitoring,
coordination and evaluation. It will also function as a service and information
centre for member states.
Mr. Chairman, the time has come for us to review our past achievements and to consider the future direction of our regional body. With the experience
gained during the past year, we now have a clearer perspective of the future.
We should devote less time to workshops and seminars and concentrate more
on concrete regional projects. The selection of such projects must be carried
out carefully in order to ensure that benefits will accrue to all member states.
The goals we set for ourselves must be realistic and time bound. This will
impart strength and vigor to our activities and make SAARC a result-oriented
In selecting our areas of cooperation, we must give priority to the economic
field as it is an area of vital concern to our peoples. We should particularly
concentrate on the promotion of trade and joint economic ventures within our
region. The establishment of air links and telecommunications among our
seven countries would also enhance regional cooperation.
Mr. Chairman, our association is only completing the first year of its
establishment and like all fledgling enterprises, we must nurture its
development with great care and attention. The shape and scope we give to
SAARC during its formative years and the reinforcement of the foundations
we laid in Dhaka will determine the future direction and viability of our
regional body. In this regard, the political commitment and support of the
leaders themselves will be the decisive factor for realizing the full potential of
our association. For our part, we pledge our whole-hearted support to you,
Mr. Chairman, in furthering the noble principles and objectives of SAARC.
Mr. Chairman, SAARC embodies the hopes and aspirations of a billion people.
Let us work with greater determination than ever to improve the quality of
their lives. Let us prove to the world that our association is a vigorous,
dynamic body which will bring about an era of peace, progress and prosperity
to South Asia.
Address at the Royal Banquet held in Honour of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi,
Prime Minister of India, September 29, 1985
It is with great happiness that we welcome Your Excellency and your family to
Bhutan. Your visit today gives us the opportunity to reaffirm and renew the
traditional bonds of friendship and goodwill that exist between our two
Shortly after assuming office, Your Excellency had stated that Bhutan would
be the first foreign country you would like to visit. The goodwill implicit in the
gesture touched us very deeply. However, this being Your Excellency’s first
visit to Bhutan, we were very keen that this auspicious occasion should take
place during the most pleasant season of the year. As the country takes pride
and delight in your visit with us today, we express the hope that Your
Excellency, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, your children and the members of your
delegation will have an enjoyable and comfortable stay in Bhutan.
The spirit of friendship and understanding that has brought our two nations
together in a climate of trust and harmony is not new. It dates back to Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru’s historic visit on horse and yak across the Chumbi Valley to
Bhutan in 1958. As a result of this visit, Bhutan opened its doors to the
outside world after several centuries of self-imposed isolation and embarked
on a programme of rapid socio-economic development with generous
financial and technical assistance from India. It was during these years that
Pandit Nehru and my late father laid the foundations on which Indo-Bhutan
friendship is firmly established.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi made further contributions and gave a new dimension to
our strong and enduring friendship. It is rare in the annals of international
relations to find a relationship of such affection and trust between the leaders
of two neighbouring countries as that which existed between Mrs. Indira
Gandhi and my father. This tradition of friendship and trust between the
leaders of our two countries has gained strength with each passing
generation, and I have every confidence that the goodwill and understanding
which so happily exist between Your Excellency and myself will be an
important factor in the harmonious conduct of our bilateral relations.
Your Excellency, permit me to express our deep admiration for your
remarkable achievements during the short time you have been in office.
Internally, some of the problems, which were eroding the fabric of your
nation, have been resolved through the exercise of great political wisdom and
courage. The introduction of a host of policy changes on a wide range of
subjects from education to economy, and the new emphasis on technology,
will undoubtedly facilitate India’s march to the 21st Century. Externally, Your
Excellency’s active role as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement on a
number of key issues, and your initiative to convene the six-nation summit on nuclear disarmament, has been widely acclaimed. Your effort to improve
India’s relations with its neighbours has brought about a distinct improvement
in the political climate of South Asia. India’s initiative to resolve the ethnic
problem in Sri Lanka has been timely and useful. As a true friend of Your
Excellency and your country, I would like to wish Your Excellency every
success in your noble endeavours. I am confident that under your wise
leadership, the great Indian Republic will flourish and prosper, and the
friendship between our two countries will grow ever stronger with the
passage of time.
I am most happy to say that at this point of time, Indo-Bhutan relations enjoy
a level of complete trust and friendship. There is close understanding on all
issues of mutual concern and interest. The close cooperation between our
two countries is further expanding in every field and there is mutual respect
and goodwill between the peoples of our two countries. I believe we have
succeeded in demonstrating to the world that enlightened and far-sighted
leadership can make it possible for a large country like India and a small
neighbour like Bhutan to coexist in perfect harmony, trust and cooperation.
We hope that the happy and mutually beneficial relationship, which we have
established so successfully, will serve as a model to other countries.
Excellencies and distinguished guests, I would like to request you to join me
in a toast to the good health of the Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, and the
progress and success of the friendly people of India.
Address at the Inauguration of the Office of the UNDP Resident Representative, Thimphu, May 14, 1979
It is now eight years since our country became the 128th member of the
United Nations. Having set Bhutan on the path of progress and
modernization, my late father was aware of the many benefits available from
the various agencies of this noble body for the progress and prosperity of our
people and country. He also looked upon the United Nations as an
international forum through which our country, as a sovereign Buddhist state,
could, in our own way, contribute to global understanding, peace and justice.
It was, thus, through his dedicated efforts that Bhutan is today a proud
member of the United Nations.
Bhutan began receiving UNDP assistance in 1973. Although we are assisted
by many countries, in particular our close friend and neighbour, India, the
substantial and meaningful UNDP assistance has made a very significant
impact on our overall development programme. During the last six years, we
have received over Nu 70 million from the UNDP.
Today, we are celebrating with great joy and happiness the inauguration of
the office of the Resident Representative of the UNDP in Thimphu. Our
happiness on this occasion does not emanate from our anticipation of
receiving further assistance, but from the true appreciation of the many
benefits that our people have already received from the UNDP.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bradford Morse, the
Administrator, and Mr. Andrew Joseph, the Assistant Administrator of the
UNDP. They were both very happy to know that all UNDP aided projects in
Bhutan have been highly successful and that they are greatly benefiting our
people. Mr. Morse also assured me that his organization will continue to assist
us in fulfilling our aspiration of economic self-reliance.
I would like to thank Mr. Morse and Mr. Joseph for the trouble they have
taken to come all the way from New York for the inauguration of this office. I
am deeply touched by this gesture as it reflects their personal friendship and
concern for our country and, without any doubt, the priority that their
organization attaches to a country like Bhutan.
Until now, the UNDP office in New Delhi has been administering the UNDP
programme in Bhutan. I wish to convey to Mr. Huyser the deep appreciation
of our people and government for the genuine interests and attention that he
has always shown in implementing UNDP projects in our country.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you Mr. Tilak Malhotra, who is our
first UNDP Resident Representative. His enthusiasm to assist Bhutan, his
understanding of our problems and his long experience with the United
Nations have convinced me that a better man could not have been found for
this appointment. We are also fully confident that during the Resident Representative’s stay here in Bhutan, he would fulfill the heavy responsibilities
of his organization and be of great service and benefit to our people and
On behalf of my people and government, and on my own behalf, I invite the
distinguished guests from the UNDP to join with me in my hopes and prayers
that the close understanding and cooperation between the UNDP and Bhutan
would grow ever stronger with the passage of time and that all UNDP projects
would be successful and continue to benefit our people. On this very happy
and auspicious occasion, I wish you all Tashi Delek!
Address at the First SAARC Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh December 7-8, 1985
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I begin by congratulating you warmly on your unanimous election as
Chairman of the first Summit Meeting of South Asian countries. This meeting
is an occasion of historic significance for our region, manifesting our united
commitment to regional peace, cooperation, and advancement. Mr. Chairman,
along with the high distinction conferred upon you, the nations gathered here
today have placed upon your shoulders the heavy responsibility of guiding our
regional body for the next two years. For our part, we pledge our whole--
hearted support to you in furthering the noble objectives of SAARC.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to say how happy I am that this meeting is taking
place in the capital of a country with which we have extremely close ties of
friendship and cooperation. The fact that this meeting is taking place in
Dhaka is a recognition of the vital role that Bangladesh has played in the
formative stage of SAARC and an indication of the confidence we have in your
wisdom and ability to lead our regional organization. I would also like to
express our deep gratitude to you and your people for the excellent
arrangements made for this meeting, and for the warm reception and
generous hospitality accorded to me and the members of my delegation.
As we embark on our voyage of regional integration and unity, we wish to
pay tribute to two distinguished leaders who made a lasting contribution to
SAARC and who are no more with us. The late President Ziaur Rahman of
Bangladesh pioneered the concept of SAARC, and the late Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi of India lent her firm and unwavering support to this endeavour
in its crucial period.
After five years of gradual and painstaking labour, our efforts to build regional
cooperation in South Asia have culminated in this Summit. As we meet here
over the next two days, we will initiate the process of creating a climate of
peace and cooperation in our region, based on mutual understanding,
goodwill, and trust. This process will not be easy, given our political and
strategic divergences and asymmetries in our sizes, resources, and levels of
development. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that inspite of all our
heterogeneity, we are geographically one homogeneous unit, that our peoples
have lived together in peace and friendship for countless centuries, and that
they share many values rooted in our common past.
Mr. Chairman, it may neither be possible nor desirable to limit discussions in
our meetings to issues of a non-political nature, for the political climate of our
region will undoubtedly cast a long shadow over our deliberations. In the
geopolitical realities of our region, it would be unrealistic to ignore the
primacy of the political factor, as, in the final analysis, it will be the political environment of the region which will determine the shape and scope of
regional cooperation in South Asia.
The main obstacle is not only to overcome the psychological and emotional
barriers of the past, but the fears, anxieties, and apprehensions of the
present. If regional cooperation is to be enhanced, we have to move away
from an attitude of suspicion to one of understanding and trust despite major
differences in political and security perceptions. We must transcend the
narrow nationalism that prevails in our region due largely to historical reasons
and create good neighbourly relationships in which the magnanimity of the
larger states would be matched by the genuine friendship of the smaller
Mr. Chairman, in our deep concern over global military expenditure and the
escalating arms race, we are heartened and encouraged by the recent summit
in Geneva between the leaders of the two Super Powers. We would like to
express the hope that this initiative will gain momentum and substance
through a continued process towards gradual nuclear disarmament.
In our own region, it is regrettable to note that the arms race has intensified
and assumed new dimensions with the increasing possibility of the
development of nuclear weapons. While we stand united in our call for
general and complete disarmament in the global context, it is a political reality
that this ominous development in our region can be effectively resolved only
through a meaningful dialogue between the countries concerned. At the same
time, we are firm in our belief that SAARC can and must play a determining
role in furthering better and closer understanding within the region in order to
create an atmosphere conducive to amicable settlement of differences.
South Asia is the cradle of one of the earliest human civilizations. We are all
heirs to glorious spiritual and cultural traditions. Yet, today, in terms of social
and economic well-being, the situation in our region could not be more
dismal. The region’s one billion people, representing one-fifth of mankind, live
on 3.3 percent of the global land area with a per capita income of less than
one-tenth of the world’s average. While the rate of economic growth is low as
against a high rate of population increase, nearly half of our peoples live in
absolute poverty. In this unhappy situation, regional cooperation, with its
stress on self-reliance, offers a viable alternative development strategy. In our
view, collective self-reliance and independence through interdependence
within the framework of regional cooperation is not only desirable but
imperative in the face of the present global realities.
The current international economic environment which has placed severe
strains on our national economies favors the regional option and greater
South-South cooperation. At the same time, we must persist in our efforts to
establish the new international economic order. A congruity of views
regarding international economics and North-South relations already exists
among our countries. What is now required is coordination and harmonization of our policies on the internal economic front through our regional
organization. Once regional cooperation succeeds in producing visible
economic gains and a climate of trust is developed, the scope for mutually
beneficial economic cooperation would expand. In this respect, the
establishment of an Integrated Programme of Action in nine areas of direct
benefit to all our peoples is a noteworthy achievement. However, progress in
establishing cooperative linkages in some areas has been rather slow. I am
confident that this Summit meeting will provide the necessary impetus to
cooperation in these areas.
The Kingdom of Bhutan has been a firm and consistent supporter of the
concept of regional cooperation from the very beginning. It is our conviction
that a vital factor in this endeavour is the determined commitment and
support of all our seven nations to the principles and objectives of SAARC
which are based on sovereign equality, peaceful co-existence and mutual
benefit. The common hopes and aspirations of our peoples which have
brought us together on this occasion can best be fulfilled through the exercise
of wisdom, vision, and political will at the summit level. We believe that it will
be the personal and unwavering commitment of the leaders themselves that
will determine the outcome of this Summit and the future course of regional
cooperation. It is in this context that we welcome the proposal to establish
the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and we pledge our full
support to this body.
Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, I would like to express my fervent hope that
future generations will find reasons to look back on this historic Summit as
the beginning of a new era in inter-state relations in South Asia, and
heralding the dawn of regional peace, meaningful cooperation, genuine
friendship and mutual prosperity.
I wish you all Tashi Delek!
Address at the Banquet in Honour of Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of
the Palestine Liberation Organization, April 21, 1985
Excellencies and distinguished friends,
We have the honour today to welcome in our midst a man who symbolizes
the hopes and aspirations of an entire people. He is a statesman and leader
of great courage and determination who has dedicated his entire life to the
cause of his people’s justice and freedom. We salute our Arab friend and
brother, His Excellency Chairman Yasser Arafat, the dynamic leader of the
great Palestinian people. We are very happy to have Chairman Yasser Arafat
and his distinguished colleagues with us in Thimphu today. We are confident
their visit will further strengthen the existing friendship and understanding
between the Palestinian and Bhutanese peoples.
We are all aware that the peace-loving Palestinian people, with a rich culture
and ancient history, were driven from their homeland by the forces of
imperialism and colonialism. We know that the majority of them are scattered
in the neighbouring Arab countries and are leading a life of great hardship
and humiliation. Their hopes and aspirations for an independent Palestinian
state are kept alive and championed in the international arena by the
Palestine Liberation Organization under the able and dedicated leadership of
His Excellency Chairman Yasser Arafat. Despite the wide recognition of the
aspirations of the Palestinian people by the international community and
countless resolutions passed by world bodies, the persecution and the loss of
human lives still carry on.
The situation in the Middle East continues to pose a serious threat to
international peace and security. We have always held the view that the
question of Palestine lies at the heart of the problem. In all international
forums, we have consistently advocated the view that there can be no just
and durable peace in the Middle East without the total and unconditional
withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by
it since 1967, including Jerusalem. Any solution to the problem of Palestine
must be based on the exercise by the Palestinian people of all their
inalienable national rights, including the right to self-determination in their
homeland. Another essential prerequisite for any comprehensive and lasting
settlement in the Middle East is the full and equal participation of the
Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole and legitimate representative of
the Palestinian people, in any discussion relating to the future of Palestine.
We are also of the view that the early convening of an International Peace
Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with the relevant United
Nations resolutions, would be a positive step forward in resolving the Middle
Your Excellency, our firm and unwavering support for the Palestinian people is
not only due to the just nature of your cause, but also because of the genuine
admiration we have developed for you and the wise and mature leadership you have provided to the Liberation Movement in the face of great adversity
and overwhelming odds. We consider the struggle of the Palestinian people
for justice and freedom, not a cause only dear and sacred to the Palestinian
people, but to the entire human race, for all human beings value and treasure
these ideals which give meaning and dignity to our lives.
On the happy occasion of Your Excellency’s visit to our country, I would like
to take this opportunity to assure Your Excellency of our continued and
whole-hearted support for the just cause of the Palestinian people.
Excellencies and distinguished friends, I would like to request you to join me
in a toast to the health, happiness and well being of Chairman Yasser Arafat
and the distinguished members of the delegation, to the success of the
Palestinian cause, and to everlasting friendship between the Palestinian and
the Bhutanese peoples.
Royal Proclamation to the People of Bhutan, July 26, 1972
A great misfortune has befallen upon our Kingdom.
Despite medical treatment and religious ceremonies performed for his
recovery, His Majesty the King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the source of all our
present and future hopes, the parent of our welfare, our heart and our eye,
expired in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, at half past ten at night on the
additional tenth day of the sixth month in this Year of the Water Rat.
It is as if the sun of this country’s happiness has set at noon and night fallen
during the day. A great cloak of grief has fallen over the nation.
Despite the small size of our country, the great kindness, wisdom and
forethought of the Late King have protected us from the dangers of foreign
enemies, internal dissension, epidemics and famine, whereas other countries
in the world today have little peace and happiness. As if warmed by a sun
shining between the clouds, we have been established firmly in a state of
security and tranquility. Forsaken now by our loving Ruler, we are all at a loss
as to what to do, like a blind man abandoned in the middle of a field.
In particular, speaking for myself, my sorrow in having lost my own father is
indeed very great. What is more, the country has lost a King the like of whose
kind has, till now, never been known. The parent of this country’s welfare
having now forsaken us all and departed in peace, the grievous suffering of
the whole kingdom at having been left without a protector is almost
unbearable. However, the feeling of sorrow increases the sadness itself and
we should remember that my late father the King has only succumbed to the
transient nature of all existence.
It now falls upon me to join the line of dynastic succession to the throne,
although I feel quite unworthy of undertaking this task. However, since all of
you have strong loyalty for me and have placed great hopes in me, for my
part, I hope to serve my kingdom and its people to the best of my ability and
with all my heart and soul, for as long as possible. Although it is quite certain that someone like myself would be quite unable to perform the kind of service to our country such as my father rendered, yet I still desire to emulate his deeds as far as possible. Ours is a religious Kingdom and because of the compassion of the Lord Buddha and the guardian deities of our country, the strong and unbroken faith existing between the ruler and subjects, and because the fact that the servants of the government are doing their utmost to serve the country, I feel that the Kingdom will not fall into serious decline. For my part, therefore, I am now trying to forget this sorrow that has befallen us and at present I am having the last rites for my father performed as well as I can. All of you must also abandon your grief. With strong endeavours in each of our own tasks, we must unite our minds for the sake of the strength and progress of our country.