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International Relations

Israel-Bhutan Ties

  • 15 Dec 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, Israel has established diplomatic ties with Bhutan.

  • The development comes two days after Israel and Morocco agreed to normalize ties in a deal brokered with assistance from the USA.
    • Morocco became the fourth Arab country, after the UAE, Bahrain (Abraham Accords) and Sudan, to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months.

Key Points

  • Historical Background:
    • Israel has supported Bhutanese human resource development since 1982, especially in the area of agriculture development that has benefited hundreds of Bhutanese youths.
    • Both the countries maintained a cordial relation despite a lack of formal ties.
    • Israel briefly had a non-resident ambassador to Bhutan in 2010.
    • Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation MASHAV has trained hundreds of Bhutanese youth since 2013.
  • Recent Development:
    • The two nations established a formal diplomatic relation and agreed to work closely together in various sectors.
    • The two sides will not be setting up embassies in Thimphu and Tel Aviv however, and will coordinate through their missions in Delhi.
  • Significance:
    • The establishment of diplomatic relations would create new avenues for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural sciences and other areas of mutual benefit.
    • As for tourism, Bhutan that limits the number of outsiders who can enter will now likely be more open to Israelis.
    • The ties between the peoples through cultural exchanges and tourism would also be further enhanced.
  • Bhutan's Foreign Relations:
    • India's Role: Bhutan's foreign relations till date are mostly under the guidance of India, with which Bhutan had official diplomatic relations from 1949.
      • The basis for bilateral relations between India and Bhutan was formed by the Indo-Bhutan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1949.
      • However, Article 2 of the treaty critically gave India a role in guiding Bhutan’s foreign policy. Hence, some alterations were made in the treaty in 2007. As per the new treaty, Bhutan can import arms as long as Indian interests are not harmed and there is no re-export of the weapons, either by the government or individuals.
    • It became a member of the United Nations (UN) in 1971.
      • However it does not have diplomatic ties with any of the five permanent members of the UN security council.
    • Until 2007 it had formal relations with just 22 countries in the world but after their 2008 elections, the Bhutanese government rapidly increased its diplomatic relations, signing agreements with 31 countries in five years.
    • Bhutan has diplomatic relations with some 53 countries and the European Union.
      • Recently, Bhutan established diplomatic relations with Germany.

Source:IE

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