Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 52 states and the European Union . [92] [3]

In 1971, sponsored by India, Bhutan began to develop its foreign relations by joining the United Nations , though it has no diplomatic relations with any of the permanent members on the UN Security Council. In 1981, Bhutan joined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank , followed by the World Health Organization and UNESCO in 1982. It is also an active member of SAARC . Bhutan is currently a member of 45 international organizations. [4]

Under Article 20 of the Constitution of Bhutan enacted in 2008, Bhutan's foreign relations fall under the purview of the Druk Gyalpo on the advice of the Executive, namely the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the Lhengye Zhungtshog including the Minister of Foreign Affairs . [6]

Countries that have diplomatic relations with Bhutan

Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with sixteen European nations: Andorra ; Austria ; Armenia ; Belgium ; Czech Republic ; Denmark ; Finland ; Luxembourg ; the Netherlands ; Norway ; Poland ; Serbia ; Slovakia ; Slovenia ; Spain (with whom it established relations on 11 February 2011 [6] ); Sweden ; and Switzerland , which form the "Friends of Bhutan" group, along with Japan , which contributes towards development projects in Bhutan. Other EU countries that do not have formal relations with Bhutan (such as France and Germany ) are represented by the EU, which does maintain a diplomatic relation separate from the countries that already have one.

In addition to Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, and South Korea, Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with eighteen other Asian nations: Afghanistan ; Azerbaijan ; Bahrain ; Burma ; Indonesia ; Kazakhstan ; Kuwait ; the Maldives ; Mongolia ; Oman ; Singapore ; Sri Lanka ; Tajikistan ; Thailand ; Turkey ; the United Arab Emirates ; and Vietnam . Bhutan also maintains diplomatic relations with four African nations: Egypt , Mauritius , Morocco , and Swaziland ; six American nations: Argentina , Brazil , Canada , Colombia , Costa Rica , and Cuba ; and two Oceanian nations: Australia and Fiji . [7] Other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom , have no formal diplomatic relations with Bhutan, but maintain informal contact through their respective embassies in New Delhi and Bhutanese Permanent mission to the United Nations in New York City. The United Kingdom has an Honorary Consul resident in Thimphu. [8]

Armenia

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 27 September 2012.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of only two nations to maintain a residential embassy in Thimphu. Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognize Bangladeshi independence in 1971. The two states have agreed to develop hydropower in the Himalayas, as well as initiate free trade and transhipment through Bangladeshi ports. They also cooperate in water resources management.

Both Bhutan and Bangladesh are members of SAARC and BIMSTEC .

Canada

Canada established diplomatic ties with Bhutan in 2003. Canada has a representative office in Thimphu .

China

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

In late 2005, Bhutan claimed that Chinese soldiers were building roads and bridges within Bhutanese territory. Bhutanese Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk took up the matter with Chinese authorities after the issue was raised in the Bhutanese parliament. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang of the People's Republic of China has said that the border remains in dispute and that the two sides are continuing to work for a peaceful and cordial resolution of the dispute. [9] The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border. [96]

India

Historicaly, ties with India have been close. Both countries signed a first ever Friendship treaty in 1865 between Bhutan and British India. However, when Bhutan became a monarchy, British India was the first country to recognize it and renewed the treaty in 1910. Bhutan was the first country to recognize Indian independence and renewed the age old treaty with the new government in 1949, including a clause that India would assist Bhutan in foreign relations. On February 8, 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty [92] was substantially revised under the Bhutanese King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck . In the Treaty of 1949 Article 2 read as "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations." [92] In the revised treaty this now reads as, "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes in it the preamble "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 strengthens Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

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

Nepal

Nepal and Bhutan established relations in 1983. However, since 1992, relations with Nepal have been tense due to the repatriation of refugees from Bhutan . [92]

Pakistan

Pakistan and Bhutan established relations in 1988.

Philippines

The Philippines and Bhutan have no formal relations yet. The Philippines has an embassy in New Delhi, India as representative to dialogues with Bhutan. Numerous senators and high-profile personalities from the Philippines have visited Bhutan and have been pushing for the Gross National Happiness to also be applied in the Philippines, citing its effectiveness and efficiency in nation-building, environmental and cultural conservation, and human rights upholding. In September 2014, the Prime Minister of Bhutan visited the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila. [92]

Russia

Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with Russia .

South Korea

High-level Exchanges From Bhutan to the South Korean 1994 July External Affairs Minister Tshering 1995 May External Affairs Minister Tshering 1998 October External Affairs Minister Tshering 2002 September Industry and Commerce Minister K. Wangchuk 2005 May Ambassador to Korea Jigme Tshultim 2006 November Housing and Engineering Minister Kinzang Dorji 2007 February Culture Minister Jigmi Thinley 2007 April Public Prosecutor General Damcho Dorji 2007 June Information and Communication Minister Leki Dorji (ACD) 2010 October Ambassador to Korea Bap Kesang 2014 January Information and Communication Minister Lyonpo Dungyel 2014 August Agriculture Vice Minister Tenzin Dhendup. [92]

Tajikistan

Both countries established diplomatic relations on January 24, 2013 [92] .

Transnational issues

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

Extradition

Bhutan has a legislated policy on extradition of criminals, both to and from the kingdom. Any nation, with or without formal relations, may request the extradition of fugitives who abscond to Bhutan. The Extradition Act requires nations to provide "all relevant evidence and information" about the accused, after which the Royal Government may in its discretion refer the matter to the High Court of Bhutan . The Court may then issue a summons or warrant, conduct an inquiry, and collect evidence, holding the accused for a maximum of 30 days. Alternatively, the Royal Government may refer the matter to the courts for trial within Bhutan. Bhutan imposes punishments for offenses committed in treaty states generally, and for offenses in other states resulting in return to Bhutan. Offenses are weighed according to gravity, determined by a schedule and two-part test: extraditable offenses are those enumerated (including murder, theft, forgery, and smuggling), or which in Bhutan would be punished by a prison term exceeding twelve months. [16] All felonies in Bhutan are punishable by a minimum of three years' imprisonment. [17]

Bhutan will refuse requests for extradition if the Royal Government or its courts determine the person is accused of a political offense . [16]

International terrorism

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

Refugee resettlement

The U.S. has offered to resettle 60,000 of the 107,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese origin now living in seven U.N. refugee camps in southeastern Nepal. Six other nations—Australia, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand and Denmark—have offered to resettle 10,000 each. [92]

Other countries also operate resettlement programs in the camps. [92] Norway has already settled 200 Bhutanese refugees, and Canada has agreed to accept up to 5,000 through to 2012. [3]

Diplomatic relations and missions

COUNTRY YEAR RELATIONS
ESTABLISHED [3]
MISSION TO BHUTAN LOCATION MISSION OF BHUTAN LOCATION NOTES
Afghanistan
2010
Yes
[100]
Andorra
2012
Argentina
2012 [3]
Armenia
2012 [3]
Australia
2002
Yes
New Delhi [24]
Yes
Bangkok [101]
Austria
1989
Yes
New Delhi [28]
Yes
Geneva [29]
Azerbaijan
2013 [4]
Bahrain
1992
Yes
Kuwait City [33]
  • The ambassador the Bhutanese Embassy in Kuwait is accredited to Bahrain. [33]
Bangladesh
1973
Yes
Thimphu [4]
Yes
Dhaka [100]
Belgium
2009
Yes
Brussels [4]
Brazil
2009 [4]
Yes
Brunei
Yes
New Delhi
Canada
2003
Yes
New Delhi [37]
Yes
New York City [38]
Colombia
2012 [4]
Costa Rica
2012
Cuba
2011 [41]
Czech Republic
2012
Denmark
1985
Yes
New Delhi
Yes
Brussels
Egypt
2012 [44]
European Union
1985
Yes
New Delhi [45]
Yes
Brussels
  • The ambassador of the Embassy of Bhutan to Belgium in Brussels is accredited to the EU and the European Commission.
  • The ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan. [45]
Fiji
2011 [46]
Finland
1986
Yes
New Delhi [47]
Yes
Brussels
India
1968
Yes
Thimphu [48]
Yes
New Delhi [100]
Indonesia
2011 [50]
Japan
1986
Yes
New Delhi [51]
Kazakhstan
2012 [6]
Republic of Korea
1987
Yes
New Delhi [55]
Kuwait
1983
Yes
Thimphu
Yes
Kuwait City [100]
Luxembourg
2011
Maldives
1984
Yes
Dhaka [57]
  • The ambassador of Bhutanese Embassy in Dhaka is accredited to Maldives. [57]
Mauritius
2012 [6]
Mongolia
2012 [6]
Morocco
2011 [6]
Myanmar
2012 [6]
Nepal
1983
Yes
New Delhi
Yes
New Delhi
  • The ambassador of the Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Nepal.
  • The ambassador of the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.
Netherlands
1985
Yes
New Delhi [66]
Yes
Brussels
Norway
1985
Yes
New Delhi [70]
Yes
Geneva [71]
Oman
2013 [7]
Pakistan
1988
Poland
2012 [7]
Serbia
2011
Both countries have established diplomatic relations on 9 December2011. [7]
Singapore
2002
Yes
New Delhi [74]
Yes
Bangkok [75]
Slovakia
2012 [76]
Slovenia
2012 [8]
Yes
New Delhi
Spain
2011
Yes
New Delhi
Sri Lanka
1987
Yes
New Delhi [78]
Yes
Dhaka [57]
Swaziland
2012
Sweden
1985
Yes
New Delhi [79]
Yes
Geneva [80]
Switzerland
1985
Yes
New Delhi [81]
Yes
Geneva [100]
Tajikistan
2013 [9]
Thailand
1989
Yes
Dhaka [86]
Yes
Bangkok [100]
Turkey
2012 [76]
Yes
Dhaka [88] The ambassador of the Turkish Embassy in Dhaka is accredited to Bhutan. [88]
United Arab Emirates
2012 [9]
Vietnam
2012 [9]

See also