BHUTAN-ISRAEL DIPLOMATIC TIES AND ITS IMPACT IN SOUTH ASIA
Northeast Today|January 2021
The Jewish state of Israel, after signing the Abraham Accord and setting its foot in the Middle East has joined hands with the Kingdom of Bhutan. The diplomatic ties established between the two countries could mean a stronghold of Israel in South Asia. Both the nations have agreed that the recently established ties have nothing to do with the normalization of Israel’s bonding with the UAE, but of secret relations with the Himalayan country. However, analysts are of the view that more countries joining hands with Israel would mean more of its influence on the international stage, whilst gaining brownie points on diplomatic ties. For instance, it could also mean defeating the concept of the Palestinian issue. Moreover, it has also been speculated that with India backing the diplomatic ties, it could be a covenant between India and Bhutan against China. Mumeninaz Zaman explores more
Mumeninaz Zaman

Israel-Bhutan on a diplomatic spree

Israel and Bhutan have announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two countries on December 12. The Notes Verbale was exchanged between Major General Vetsop Namgyel, Ambassador of Bhutan to India, and Dr. Ron Malka, Ambassador of Israel to India at the Embassy of the State of Israel in New Delhi.

The agreement between the two countries is expected to- “open the path to greater cooperation and further strengthen relations” between Israel and the South Asian Kingdom, according to a joint statement.

However, Israel’s new relations with the relatively-isolated Himalayan nation did not appear to be related to its budding ties under US-sponsored accords with Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. Rather the agreement follows several years of secret contacts between Israel and Bhutan with the aim of establishing relations, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

A small country on the foothills of the Himalaya, Bhutan measures the quality of life by Gross National Happiness rather than Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Bhutan which has a population of just over 770,000 people only began allowing foreign tourists into the country in 1970. TV and internet were legalized in 1999. The countries agreed to work on various fields including agriculture, water resources, technology, health, education, human resource and other areas of mutual benefits. Bhutan has not much to offer to an advanced country like Israel.

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