A dependable friend!
Jivha thanked Bhutan for its military action against the insurgents including the ULFA outfits. As I commented on his blog, diplomatically we can read more than a “friendly” gesture here. Indian stature for SAARC countries resembles very much the American stature in the UN. India is the “local dada” here, reason why Pakistan is acting sheepishly off late to make the next summit, that its is hosting, a success. Nitin however gives another dimension to this news that Bhutan mainly did it in its own self interest rather than the “Indian pressure”.
While on the topic, I like many things about Bhutan. Though running under a monarchy the country has a democratic setup. The king has worked very hard to keep its culture intact by taking such measures as blocking access to satellite TV, a medium which even in my opinion is the culprit of culture-erosion. This fact resonates with Nitin's thoughts that “to maintain its own Bhutanese identity the Indian insurgents are considered by the king as a potential threat to Bhutan's way of life”. Moreover, the Bhutanese prince recently left his studies mid-way to join the royal army, so they are in high-spirits.
India has had a strategic alliance with armies of Nepal and Bhutan, so if done the right way may be the insurgency can be controlled. A firm initial step is better in such cases to prevent a Kashmir like scenario. Attribute it to the “help factor” or otherwise, Bhutan indeed has been India's “dependable friend”. Wish we had such a relation with Pakistan and Bangladesh too!
News also reads that the King actually ran out of patience with the militants, realising much too late the Indian request for use of force to clear them out.
Whatever it is, it’s heartning to see that we still have neighbours to lean on. But, as in politics, there can be no permanant Friend or Foe. Nepal was once a friend (even if the people had hated us long, for our maneuvers). Sri Lanka was so hostile at a time, now its changed altogether.
The editorial in Kuensel leaves no doubt; they did it both to protect their national interest and also to support India.