Bhutan. The small mountain country ended up in the middle of the year in a power struggle between the regional powers of China and India. China demanded that India withdraw its troops from the disputed Doklam Plateau in the strategically important border area between western Bhutan and Tibet, near the Indian state of Sikkim. The Chinese claim that the area belongs to China, while both Bhutan and India consider it part of Bhutan. A stalemate occurred in June after Chinese road workers, accompanied by military, entered what Bhutan considers their territory. To prevent the proposed road being built, India sent military to the area. In July, a Chinese diplomat alleged that Bhutan said the country did not claim the Doklam Plateau, a statement that was later rejected by the Bhutanese government.
According to Countryaah.com, the two parties that have dominated political life since the introduction of democracy in 2008 – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) – will face more opponents than before in the 2018 parliamentary elections. At least two new parties began to be organized during the year, partly the Druk Gaki Tshogpa, founded by the engineer Chheku Dukpa, and the Druk Kuenphen Tshogpa, with the retired official Jigme Dukpa as the driving force.
General information about Bhutan
In a landscape dominated by snow-capped mountains that rise to more than seven kilometers in Bhutan and the lush valleys between them, the gaze is drawn to the majestic white-walled monastery forts, or dzongs. The decoration of their window and door frames looks like its peers. Dzongs handle both secular, administrative affairs and religious rituals and education.
Bhutan is a Tibetan Buddhist state and religion is present in everything. Mountain streams revolve through huge prayer mills and thousands of colorful Prayer Flags float in the landscape. Bhutan, which was subordinate to Tibet, heard about Buddhism in the 7th century from Guru Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, who is revered as the most important religious figure in the country. He is said to have arrived in the area flying a tiger and resting his knight on a three-kilometer-high slope in Taksang. Today’s pilgrims and tourists climb a monastery built on a mountain called the Tiger’s Nest.
The first monks fleeing Tibet heard thunder rumbling in the valleys of Bhutan and thought it was the sound of a dragon. For more than a thousand years, the land has been called the Land of the Thunder Dragon.
Bhutan, with a population of two million, is led by a king, the young Jigme Kesar Namgyel. The majority of citizens derive their livelihood from agriculture. Rice grows well on terrace crops, but the state budget accumulates the most revenue from tourism and the sale of hydropower to India. Bhutan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has stopped measuring the quality of life in hard currencies: GDP is being replaced here by ‘popular happiness’.