Bhutan’s diplomatic relations

Context

Bhutan announced that it had established diplomatic relations with Germany.

History

  • The ties with Germany mark the first new diplomatic agreement made by Bhutan since March 2013, when it had established ties with Oman.
  • This has increased the restricted number of capitals that it has formal ties with to 53 states and the EU.
  • In 1949 Bhutan first signed a friendship agreement with India, which kept the two countries closely engaged on all foreign policy issues.
  • Since then, Bhutan has been historically cautious about establishing ties with other countries.
  • Until 2007, when Bhutan conducted its first election, it had formal relations with just 22 countries, mostly donor countries such as Japan, Australia and several Nordic countries.
  • It also made a firm decision not to open ties with any of the permanent five members of the UN Security Council, despite many requests from them and in particular from the U.S. and China.
  • After the election of Prime Minister Jigme Thinley in 2008, the Bhutanese government rapidly increased its diplomatic forays.
  • It signed agreements with 31 countries in five years, possibly with a view to winning the election for a non-permanent seat at the UNSC in 2013-14, which it eventually lost.

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