Given that Bhutan’s foreign policy was an election issue the Prime Minister in response to a question on bilateral and multilateral ties laid out the broad contours of Bhutan’s foreign policy in the coming years.
He said, “The government is going to continue with policies that were started and implemented by our Kings and these policies served Bhutan well.”
This statement will confirm that the current government would have a less internationalist foreign policy compared to the former government. This was also visible in the current foreign minister leading a delegation to the United Nations General Assembly instead of the Prime Minister.
In the past UNGA sessions the former Prime Minister made an annual trip to the UNGA and read out Bhutan’s statement which had focused mainly on Bhutan offering the world an alternate development philosophy of GNH.
In response to a question the Prime Minister said that Bhutan would give equal importance to both bilateral (country to country) and multilateral ties (country to international bodies).
The Prime Minister said that in terms of bilateral ties Bhutan had tied with many countries. He made special mention of India saying that it had given unprecedented level of assistance to Bhutan for the 11th plan.
He said that multilaterally Bhutan had received assistance from agencies like the UN agencies and Bhutan had benefitted from their assistance and support too.
The Prime Minister said that primary goal of Bhutan’s foreign policy would be ensure that the ultimate beneficiaries are Bhutan and the Bhutanese people.
The Prime Minister also said that Bhutan’s foreign policy would be in line with what was the official policy on the foreign ministry website.
The short policy lists two objectives of Bhutan’s foreign policy one of which is political and the other is Economic and Trade.
The Prime Minister in response to another question said that 21st boundary talks had been held with China. He said that both sides had done a joint verification of Pasamlung.
Bhutan currently has bilateral ties with 53 countries with Oman being the last country that established diplomatic ties with Bhutan.
Bhutan is member of 20 United Nations and related organizations and another 34 different multilateral organizations like SAARC, BIMSTEC, Asian Development Bank etc. Bhutan is also a member of around 21 international sports bodies.