Bhutan

Introduction In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land to British India. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of some 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which would introduce major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, in order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions in this area with New Delhi. In July 2007, seven ministers of Bhutan's ten-member cabinet resigned to join the political process, leaving the remaining cabinet to act as a caretaker regime until a new government assumes power following parliamentary elections. Bhutan will complete its transition to full democracy in 2008, when its first fully democratic elections to a new parliament - expected to be completed by March 2008 - and a concomitant referendum on the draft constitution will take place.
History

Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no extant records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness"), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600.[citation needed] The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches) have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.[citation needed]

The earliest transcribed event in Bhutan was the passage of the Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (also called Guru Rinpoche) in 747.[citation needed] Bhutan's early history is unclear, because most of the records were destroyed after fire ravaged Punakha, the ancient capital in 1827.[citation needed] By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. However, there is no sufficient information stating that all historical records were available before the fire. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronised by the various Mongol and Tibetan overlords. After the decline of the Mongols in the 14th century, these sub-sects vied with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the 16th century.

Until the early 17th century, Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms when the area was unified by the Tibeten lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. To defend the country against intermittent Tibetan forays, Namgyal built a network of impregnable dzong (fortresses), and promulgated a code of law that helped to bring local lords under centralised control. Many such dzong still exist. After Namgyal's death in 1651, Bhutan fell into civil war. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Tibetans attacked Bhutan in 1710, and again in 1730 with the help of the Mongols. Both assaults were successfully thwarted, and an armistice was signed in 1759.

In the 18th century, the Bhutanese invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar to the south. In 1772, Cooch Behar appealed to the British East India Company who assisted them in ousting the Bhutanese, and later in attacking Bhutan itself in 1774. A peace treaty was signed in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders. However, the peace was tenuous, and border skirmishes with the British were to continue for the next one hundred years. The skirmishes eventually led to the Duar War (1864–1865), a confrontation over who would control the Bengal Duars. After Bhutan lost the war, the Treaty of Sinchula was signed between British India and Bhutan. As part of the war reparations, the Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for a rent of Rs. 50,000. The treaty ended all hostilities between British India and Bhutan.

During the 1870s, power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Trongsa led to civil war in Bhutan, eventually leading to the ascendancy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the ponlop (governor) of Tongsa. From his power base in central Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck defeated his political enemies and united the country following several civil wars and rebellions in the period 1882–1885.

In 1907, an epochal year for the country, Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. The British government promptly recognised the new monarchy, and in 1910 Bhutan signed a treaty which "let" Great Britain "guide" Bhutan's foreign affairs. In reality this did not mean much given Bhutan's historical reticence. It also did not seem to apply to Bhutan's traditional relations with Tibet. The greatest impact of this treaty seems to be the perception that it meant Bhutan was not totally sovereign.

After India gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947, Bhutan became one of the first countries to recognise India's independence. A treaty similar to the one of 1910 was signed August 8, 1949 with the newly independent India.

When the Chinese People's Liberation Army entered Tibet in 1951, Bhutan sealed its northern frontier and improved bilateral ties with India.[citation needed] To reduce the risk of Chinese encroachment, Bhutan began a modernisation programme that was largely sponsored by India.[citation needed]

In 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck established the country's legislature – a 130-member National Assembly – to promote a more democratic form of governance. In 1965, he set up a Royal Advisory Council, and in 1968 he formed a Cabinet. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations, having held observer status for three years. In July 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended to the throne at the age of 16 after the death of his father, Dorji Wangchuck.

In the 1980s, in order to strengthen Bhutan’s identity as a nation, the "one nation, one people" campaign was started to foster greater integration of the peripheral ethnic and cultural groups into mainstream Bhutanese society. The age-old code of conduct, known as Driglam namzha, and usage of the official national language, Dzongkha, was promoted. At around the same time, a nationwide census revealed a large population of Nepali origin in southern Bhutan. When the government attempted to remove what it considered as illegal settlers, there was a violent backlash; numerous acts of terrorism were carried out against government schools, hospitals, offices and neutral southern Bhutanese. In order to re-establish order in the south, the government drafted many young men and able-bodied civil servants into a militia force. Thousands of civilians, including a number of political dissidents, were expelled or fled to Nepal, where they were admitted into United Nations-run camps and given refugee status. Despite the best efforts of the governments of Bhutan [3], Nepal and India, as well as outside parties such as the United Nations, the European Union and the United States, a viable solution to this problem proves to be still elusive. At present, the United States is working towards resettling around 70,000 of these refugees in the US [4].

In 1998, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced significant political reforms, transferring most of his administrative powers to the Council of Cabinet Ministers and allowing for impeachment of the King by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.{Hoffman, Klus; (2006) Democratization from above: The case of Bhutan} [5] In late 2003, the Bhutanese army successfully launched a large-scale operation to flush out anti-India insurgents who were operating training camps in southern Bhutan.

In 1999, the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. In his speech, the King said that television was a critical step to the modernisation of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country's Gross National Happiness (Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness), but warned against the misuse of television which may erode traditional Bhutanese values. Some believe it has indeed affected Bhutan in a negative way.[2]

The Taktshang Monastery, also known as the "Tiger's Nest". Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country, with the religion forming an integral part of everyday life.

A new constitution was presented in early 2005[3] which will be put up for ratification by a referendum before coming into force. In December 2005, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced that he would abdicate the throne in his son's favour in 2008 . On December 14, 2006, he stunned his countrymen by announcing that he would be abdicating immediately. Bhutan will now enter a new era of democracy, starting with its first elections in 2008. Despite the popular appeal of the King to the people of Bhutan and general reservations towards the politics of democracy, it is by royal decree that the country will undergo this drastic change in its political system.

On February 8, 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship TreatyPDF (30.6 KiB) was substantially revised. Whereas in the Treaty of 1949 Article 2 read as "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations."

In the revised treaty it now reads as "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes in it the preamble "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 strengthens Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Geography Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 27 30 N, 90 30 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 47,000 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: about half the size of Indiana
Land boundaries: total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Terrain: mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Drangme Chhu 97 m
highest point: Kula Kangri 7,553 m
Natural resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Land use: arable land: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 97.27% (2005)
Irrigated land: 400 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 95 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.43 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 199 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
Environment - current issues: soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
Politics Politics of Bhutan takes place in the framework of an absolute monarchy developing into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The 'Druk Gyalpo' (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. On the 17th of December 2005, the 4th King announced to a stunned nation that the first general elections would be held in 2008, and that he would abdicate the throne in favour of his eldest son, the crown prince.[7] Now as the country is preparing to usher historic changes by introducing the parliamentary democracy in 2008, works are in full swing and political parties are now legal. The new democratic system will comprise an upper and lower house, the latter based on political party affiliations. There are currently two political parties, following a recent merger; a third party has filed its papers with the Election Commission of Bhutan and is awaiting approval. Elections for the upper house were held on 31st of December 2007. Judicial power is vested in the courts of Bhutan. The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the Judiciary.
People Population: 2,327,849
note: the Factbook population estimate is inconsistent with the 2005 Bhutan census results; both data are being reviewed and when completed, the results will be posted on The World Factbook Web site (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook) later this year (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.6% (male 465,340/female 433,184)
15-64 years: 57.4% (male 688,428/female 647,134)
65 years and over: 4% (male 47,123/female 46,640) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 20.5 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 20.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.082% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 33.28 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 12.46 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.074 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.064 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.066 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 96.37 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 94.09 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 98.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 55.17 years
male: 55.38 years
female: 54.96 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.67 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Bhutanese
Ethnic groups: Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Languages: Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47%
male: 60%
female: 34% (2003 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul
Government type: absolute monarchy; special treaty relationship with India; note - transition to a constitutional monarchy is expected in 2008
Capital: name: Thimphu
geographic coordinates: 27 29 N, 89 36 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Gasa, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
Independence: 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
National holiday: National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Constitution: none; note - a draft constitution was unveiled in March 2005 and is expected to be adopted following the election of a new National Assembly in 2008
Legal system: based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him
head of government: Prime Minister Kinzang DORJI (since August 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the monarch, approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; note - there is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde), members nominated by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant the National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote; election of a new National Assembly is expected in 2008
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 members elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular interests; to serve three-year terms); note - a new bicameral parliament will be established in 2008
elections: first elections to be held in December 2007 and spring 2008; note - local elections last held August 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: NA
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch); note - the draft constitution establishes a Supreme Court, which will serve as chief court of appeal
Political parties and leaders: Druk Pheunsum Tshogpa or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Sangay NGEDUP]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community; United Front for Democracy (exiled)
International organization participation: ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; address: 763 First Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
Flag description: divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner; the upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange; centered along the dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from the hoist side
Culture

Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact due to its isolation from the rest of the world until the early 1960s. One of the main attractions for tourists is the country's culture and traditions. Bhutanese tradition is deeply steeped in its Buddhist heritage [8]. Hinduism is the second dominant religion in Bhutan, being most prevalent in the southern regions. Both religions co-exist peacefully and receive support from the government [9], and enjoy royal patronage. The government is increasingly making efforts to preserve and sustain the current culture and traditions of the country. Due to its largely unspoilt natural environment and cultural heritage, Bhutan has aptly been referred to as the The Last Shangri-la.

While the Bhutanese are free travel abroad, Bhutan is seen to be inaccessible to many foreigners. There is a widespread misperception that Bhutan has set limits on tourist visas. However it is the high tourist tariff and requirement to go on packaged tours that makes Bhutan an exclusive tourist destination.

The National Dress for Bhutanese men is the gho, which is a knee-length robe tied at the waist by a cloth belt known as the kera. Women wear an ankle-length dress, the kira, which is clipped at one shoulder and tied at the waist. An accompaniment to the kira is a long-sleeved blouse, the toego, which is worn underneath the outer layer. Social status and class determine the texture, colours, and decorations that embellish the garments. Differently coloured scarves and shawls are important indicators of social standing, as Bhutan has traditionally been a feudal society. Jewellery is mostly worn by women, especially during religious festivals and public gatherings. To strengthen Bhutan's identity as an independent country, Bhutanese law requires all Bhutanese citizens to wear the national dress in public areas and as formal wear.

Rice, buckwheat, and increasingly maize, are the staple foods of the country. The diet also includes pork, beef, yak meat, chicken, and mutton. Soups and stews of meat and dried vegetables spiced with chillies and cheese are prepared. Ema datshi, made very spicy with cheese and chilis, might be called the national dish for its ubiquity and the pride that Bhutanese have for it. Dairy foods, particularly butter and cheese from yaks and cows, are also popular, and indeed almost all milk is turned to butter and cheese. Popular beverages include butter tea, tea, locally brewed rice wine and beer. Bhutan is the only country in the world to have banned the sale of tobacco.

Bhutan's national sport is archery, and competitions are held regularly in most villages. It differs from Olympic standards not only in technical details such as the placement of the targets and atmosphere. There are two targets placed over 100 meters apart and teams shoot from one end of the field to the other. Each member of the team shoots two arrows per round. Traditional Bhutanese archery is a social event and competitions are organized between villages, towns, and amateur teams. There are usually plenty of food and drink complete with singing and dancing. Wives and supporters of the participating teams cheer. Attempts to distract an opponent include standing around the target and making fun of the shooter's ability. Darts (khuru) is an equally popular outdoor team sport, in which heavy wooden darts pointed with a 10 cm nail are thrown at a paperback-sized target ten to twenty meters away.

Another traditional sport is the digor, which can be best described as shot put combined with horseshoe throwing. Cricket has gained remarkable popularity in Bhutan especially since the heavy influx of Indian Television. Their national Cricket Team is one of the more successful associate nations in the region. Football is an increasingly popular sport. In 2002, Bhutan's national football team played Montserrat - billed as 'The Other Final', the match took place on the same day Brazil played Germany in the World Cup Final, but at the time Bhutan and Montserrat were the world's two lowest ranked teams. The match was held in Thimphu's Changlimithang National Stadium, and Bhutan won 4-0. A documentary of the match was made by the Dutch filmmaker Johan Kramer.

Rigsar is the new emergent style of popular music, played on a mix of traditional instruments and electronic keyboards, and dates back to the early 1990s; it shows the influence of Indian popular music, a hybrid form of traditional and Western popular influences. Traditional genres include the zhungdra and boedra.

Characteristic of the region is a type of castle fortress known as the dzong. Since ancient times, the dzongs have served as the religious and secular administration centres for their respective districts.

Bhutan has numerous public holidays, most of which centre around traditional seasonal, secular and religious festivals. They include the winter solstice (around January 1, depending on the lunar calendar), the lunar New Year (February or March), the King's birthday and the anniversary of his coronation, the official start of monsoon season (September 22), National Day (December 17), and various Buddhist and Hindu celebrations.

Masked dances and dance dramas are common traditional features at festivals, usually accompanied by traditional music. Energetic dancers, wearing colourful wooden or composition facemasks and stylized costumes, depict heroes, demons, dæmons, death heads, animals, gods, and caricatures of common people. The dancers enjoy royal patronage, and preserve ancient folk and religious customs and perpetuate the ancient lore and art of mask-making.

Inheritance in Bhutan generally goes in the female rather than the male line. Daughters will inherit their parents' house. A man is expected to make his own way in the world and often moves to his wife's home. Love marriages are the norm in the urban areas nowadays but[citation needed] the tradition of arranged marriages is still common in the villages. Although uncommon, polygamy and polyandry are accepted; often being a device to keep property in a contained family unit rather than dispersing it.

Economy Economy - overview: The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Hydropower exports to India drove GDP growth to over 20% in 2007
GDP (purchasing power parity): $3.503 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.164 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 8.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 24.7%
industry: 37.2%
services: 38.1% (2005)
Labor force: NA
note: major shortage of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 63%
industry: 6%
services: 31% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: 2.5% (2004)
Population below poverty line: 31.7% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.5% (2005 est.)
Budget: revenues: $272 million
expenditures: $350 million
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2005)
Public debt: 81.4% of GDP (2004)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Industries: cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production: 2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 0.1%
hydro: 99.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 380 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 1.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 20 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 1,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 1,138 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $350 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports - commodities: electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners: India 54.5%, Hong Kong 34.6%, Bangladesh 6.9% (2006)
Imports: $320 million c.i.f. (2006)
Imports - commodities: fuel and lubricants, grain, aircraft, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners: India 76%, Japan 5.5%, Germany 3.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $90.02 million; note - substantial aid from India (2005)
Debt - external: $593 million (2004)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Currency code: BTN; INR
Exchange rates: ngultrum per US dollar - NA (2007), 45.279 (2006), 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003)
note: the ngultrum is pegged to the Indian rupee
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 31,500 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 82,100 (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services
domestic: very low teledensity; domestic service is very poor especially in rural areas; wireless service available since 2003
international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2007)
Radios: 37,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2007)
Televisions: 11,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .bt
Internet hosts: 9,180 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
Internet users: 30,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 8,050 km
paved: 4,991 km
unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)
Military Military branches: Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 483,860
females age 18-49: 453,683 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 314,975
females age 18-49: 296,833 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 23,939
females age 18-49: 21,979 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: over 100,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps since 1990; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a boundary alignment to resolve substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lies in Bhutan's northwest