The letter that got three secretaries to surrender

The Bhutanese is in possession of the letter sent by the Foreign Secretary to the Indian Ambassador on 2nd December 2014. The letter was sent on the instructions of the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) to protest against some news articles in Enertia and allegations of corruption in the hydropower sector.

The letter written as an official communications and stand of the Royal Government of Bhutan is strong in its language and content.

It starts by referring to the August 2014 editorial coverage in the Enertia Magazine and also says the addendum to the news article is drawn from the blog of a ‘disgruntled Bhutanese blogger (K.B Wakhley) who was dishonorably discharged from national public service.’

Surprisingly though the original complaint of Dasho Sonam Tshering was on the August 2014 issue of Enertia the letter also mentions of another write up in the September issue of the Magazine.  The September issue of Enertia had published the letter signed by BVT and sent to BHEL agreeing to a 1.5% commission worth Nu 240 mn.

It says, “In this regard the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to convey the Royal Government’s shock and deep concern over the political inferences made in the articles that have serious implications on Bhutan’s domestic politics as well as its relations with the Government and People of India.”

It is interesting that though Dasho Sonam Tshering’s original complaint to the CoS did not mention any political issues the letter mentions ‘implications on domestic politics’.

It goes on to say, ‘The articles undermine the spirit of friendship, mutual trust and understanding and close cooperation that has guided Bhutan’s economic partnership with India in the hydropower sector.”

It says, “While the Royal Government respects the right of Enertia Magazine to freely express its views and opinions on any subject matter, it firmly believes that this freedom is not unlimited and comes with the responsibility to refrain from activities that infringes on the rights of other individuals.’

The letter alleges that the articles were written to defame a senior RGoB official as he did not support Enertia’s efforts to hold a conference in Bhutan in Bhutan at the end of August 2014.

It says, “The allegations made against former leaders of our two countries and a senior official of the RGoB are unsubstantiated and derogatory in nature.”

Here again this statement is interesting as the letter from defending Dasho Sonam Tshering has now deviated to defending former politicians of both Bhutan and India.

The letter says that Enertia allowed its platform to be used by a disgruntled Bhutanese national to settle personal vendetta. It says such political overtures by an NGO based in India are a matter of grave concern to the Royal Government.

It concludes saying, “In view of the aforementioned, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to request the Government of India to kindly take all necessary actions against the publishers and authors of the Enertia Magazine and Enertia Foundation to the fullest extent of the Indian laws, rules and regulations and to ensure that such bilaterally harmful incidents do not re-occur in the future.”

The letter is signed by the Foreign Secretary with a copy sent to the Cabinet Secretary and Copies sent to all members of the CoS. No copy was sent either to the Foreign Minister or the Prime Minister.

The letter has the official letter head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Government of Bhutan.

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