This was concluded at the second cabinet meeting
The current security protocol for VVIPs and VIPs, 2013, an eight page document which is believed to have been drafted by the DPT government just before the recent elections is now subject to change.
The ministry of home and cultural affairs (MoHCA) was directed to review and rework the security protocol for VVIPs and VIPs guidelines during the second cabinet meeting earlier this week, on Tuesday.
Under the current security protocol dignitaries has been classified into three categories based on the perceived security threats except for His Holiness the Je-Khenpo who isn’t classified under any of the categories and is served separately.
The prime minister falls under category I and shall be provided with personal security officers (PSO), pilots and escort vehicles on a full time basis.
Category II comprises members of the Royal Family who are not provided security coverage by the RBG, Chief Justice, National Assembly Speaker, National Council Chairperson, Cabinet ministers, Opposition leader and spouse of the prime minister. VIPs under this category are provided Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs)-PSO on a fulltime basis deputed on a rotational routine with tenure of one year. Pilots and PSO are provided while travelling outside Thimphu, including passage through Indian Territory. The NA speaker is provided pilot when the parliament is in session.
Category III includes the five Lopons of the Central Monk Body (CMB), chairman of the Royal Privy Council, Justices of the supreme and high court, head of constitutional bodies, cabinet secretary, government secretaries, attorney general, members of parliament, former cabinet ministers holding government portfolios and president of the ruling and opposition parties.
Under the third category, VIPs are provided security escort while travelling through security affected areas within the country and passage through Indian territory, as and when deemed necessary by the concerned security agencies.
Residential security is provided only to VIPs under category II, both outside and inside the minister’s enclave.
Security for former VIPs
Post dissolution of the government, the PM and cabinet ministers, NA speaker, NC chair and OL of the outgoing parliament shall continue to be provided with the same security arrangements until the election campaign begins.
The outgoing prime minister is provided with pilot, PSO and residential security even if he does not contest the elections or does not secure seat in the parliament after contesting or resigns from the party or remains as the president. This security coverage is provided until the new PM has either resigned or completed his term of office including the second term.
However, another section says that all former Prime Ministers and Je Khenpos will be provided with one PSO and residential security.
Election period security
Along with the outgoing PM, cabinet ministers of the outgoing government, NA speaker, NC chair and OL contesting for the elections are provided with two PSOs during the election period. Security services may be strengthened in the event there exists imminent security threat to any VIPs based on reasonable information or intelligence received.
If both the outgoing political parties are eliminated in the primary round of elections, security arrangements shall be lifted 14 days from the date the election commission (ECB) declares the result of the primary round. This applies to all outgoing elected members. However, the PM shall still be entitled to security coverage.
President of all political parties are also entitled to security coverage during elections.
The new PM elect shall be provided security escort vehicle and PSOs immediately upon declaration of results by ECB.
The Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) may provide security escort to VVIPs under category I and II while travelling to and through security affected zones. Security affected areas are identified by MoHCA in consultation with the RBP.
Former Je-Khenpos are provided with pilot and PSO. Security escort arrangement for Bhutanese Truelkus and Rinpochhes are routed through the CMB and Choedhay Lhentshog.
Armed mobile security personnel are provided to Dzongda, Drangpon, Thrompon, Dungpa and Dzongrab while travelling through security affected areas.
The new Prime Minister made a break from security protocol giving up the 36 police officers, two ADCs and two pilot vehicles assigned to him.