As India went through a massive second wave and stopped the export of its vaccines, there were doubts in Bhutan about where it could get its second dose from.
The prognosis did not look good as many countries around the world were desperately competing for vaccines.
However, now Bhutan not only has enough vaccines for a second dose due to help from European Union countries like Denmark and others but it also got 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccines from USA.
The significance of the Moderna vaccines are that they are mRNA vaccines which can be used in children from 12 to 17 as soon as FDA approval is given in USA.
Bhutan’s Foreign Policy has often been criticized by some of its neighbors and also people within the country. They pointed to the expansive ties that other countries had while Bhutan only had so many friends.
However, what is clear from this pandemic is that Bhutan’s friends’ circle may be small on paper, but there is a lot of international good will for Bhutan.
What is also clear is that Bhutan’s diplomatic ties is more focused on quality over mere quantity.
India, as Bhutan’s closest friend provided the first rounds of vaccines which helped prevent any severe cases and deaths even when delta struck. India also supported Bhutan’s requests to other countries for the second dose.
The EU stepped in to take the second dose load and now the USA has come in a big way.
A lot of the international diplomatic good will for Bhutan is not accidental, but it has been assiduously cultivated for decades by our Kings.
What has always helped Bhutan on the world stage is that whatever aid for help has been sent our way, till date, it has been used well creating a positive impact.
Donors often remark on how much positive impact can be seen in Bhutan with their aid and also the clean governance system that ensures nothing much goes to waste or into graft compared to most other developing countries.
The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.
Hubert H. Humphrey