Himalayan Harmony

A Legacy of Friendship and Cooperation: India and Bhutan's Enduring Relationship

09 May '24
3 min read


Old Friends 

India and Bhutan share a unique and special relationship, built on a foundation of trust, mutual respect, and cooperation. The two countries have a long history of diplomatic ties, dating back to the 19th century. 

In 1865, the British and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchula, which marked the beginning of formal relations between Bhutan and India (then a British colony). The treaty established Bhutan as an independent state, with Britain providing protection and guidance. After India gained independence in 1947, the two countries signed a Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship in 1949, which recognized Bhutan's sovereignty and independence.

Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship 1949.

Relations Post-Independence  

In the 1950s and 1960s, India and Bhutan collaborated on various development projects, including the construction of roads, bridges, and hydroelectric power plants. India also provided financial and technical assistance to Bhutan, supporting its transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 2008.

A significant milestone in India-Bhutan relations was the signing of the 1988 India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, which replaced the 1949 treaty. The new treaty emphasized mutual respect, cooperation, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. It also established a framework for economic and technical cooperation, including trade, commerce, and environmental protection.

Relations in Contemporary Era 

In recent years, India and Bhutan have strengthened their partnership in areas such as trade, energy, and security. Bhutan has become an important partner in India's "Neighborhood First" policy, and the two countries have collaborated on regional and international forums, including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations. 

India and Bhutan continue to enjoy a strong and friendly relationship, with regular high-level exchanges and cooperation in multiple areas. The relationship is guided by the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949, which has been updated and strengthened over the years. Key areas of cooperation include developmental partnership, hydro-power cooperation, new and emerging areas such as space technology and digital economy, commerce and trade, and RBI financing facilities. The two countries are committed to further strengthening their partnership in the years to come.

India-Bhutan relations have a rich history, built on a foundation of trust, cooperation, and mutual respect. From the early days of British colonial rule to the present day, the two countries have navigated complex geopolitical dynamics, emerging as close friends and partners in the Himalayan region. As they continue to face new challenges and opportunities, their relationship remains a shining example of diplomatic cooperation and friendship in South Asia.



Written by Tushar Tembhurne

An aspirant making effort to project various dimensions of society through 📝