The new Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, talks to Business Bhutan reporter Thukten Zangpo about her appointment, the bilateral ties between Bhutan and India, priorities for Bhutan and India, Bhutan’s 12th Plan and democracy in Bhutan.
Ambassador Kamboj is the first woman Ambassador of India to Bhutan. She joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1987 and served in the Indian Missions in the U.S., and France as well as in the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. She also held the post of the Chief of Protocol. Prior to the current appointment, Ambassador Kamboj served as the High Commissioner for India to South Africa and Lesotho.
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a career diplomat from the Indian Foreign Service, and have been around for a while!
As the first female Ambassador of India to Bhutan, how do you feel about it?
I am indeed deeply privileged to be India’s Ambassador to Bhutan and greatly look forward to the honour to represent the voice of India in this uniquely beautiful country.
What are your thoughts on the bilateral relationship between Bhutan and India and how has it evolved over the years?
It is no exaggeration when we say that India and Bhutan share extraordinary ties of friendship and cooperation. Marked by mutual understanding, goodwill and timeless respect, it is a partnership forged not only by our shared experiences but also by our civilizations growing together, overlapping in both history and culture, existing for thousands of years. And most importantly, at the heart of the India-Bhutan friendship is the belief that our future will only serve to embolden companionship.
Our bilateral ties have continuously maintained an upward growth trajectory and is a testimony to the wisdom and vision of the Druk Gyalpos of Bhutan and the successive Governments in India, who have imparted character, direction and substance to this relationship.
If I may add, our time tested relations serve as an epitome of immaculate neighborly relations for the rest of the world.
What are your priorities as the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan?
India is committed to grow the extraordinary ties of friendship and cooperation that the two countries enjoy, as per the priorities and needs of the Government and people of Bhutan. We hope to further cooperate in the traditional areas while exploring new areas which are relevant today and where we can contribute meaningfully to the development of Bhutan, as per the priorities and needs of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
What are your views on GoI’s assistance to Bhutan in the 12th Five Year Plan?
As Bhutan has entered its 12th Five Year Plan, India stands firmly committed to partner Bhutan in its quest for bringing greater prosperity and happiness to its people. While doing so, it is incumbent that we respect the priorities of the people and Government of Bhutan.
India has always provided generous support to Bhutan. How do you perceive Bhutan’s aim to become a self-reliant economy in near future?
As the long-standing premier development partner of Bhutan, India is proud of the accomplishments of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It has been our privilege to be your close partner in your nation building efforts and socio-economic transformation. Bhutan will graduate to middle-income country status by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan. India’s support for Bhutan has never been based on any specific status, but rather on the trust, and mutual affection between our leaders and people. We will be there as Bhutan’s privileged partner as long as this is desired by Bhutan and in keeping with the priorities set by your leadership.
Could you please share your opinion on democracy, media, social media and government policies of Bhutan and India?
This is indeed a question with a broad framework. India is the world’s largest democracy, the fastest growing major economy, with a civilizational ethos that has for generations inspired and uplifted souls. Bhutan too has witnessed momentous change and growth and prosperity over the past five decades. It gave itself a constitution and ushered in a democratic constitutional monarchy under the guidance of Their Majesties, the Kings of Bhutan. The recently concluded third election in Bhutan is a testimony to the strength of its democratic institutions, as they appear to scale new heights every day.
Any additional comments?
As I see this, what sets Bhutan apart from the world is its unique development paradigm of simultaneous cultural and economic advancement. Embedded within the soil which covers this country and the souls of your people is a respect for nature unlike much the world has seen. Your beauty stems from your compassion: compassion for the blades of grass and roaming animals. A compassion greater than anything seen before, for the delicate balance of life, unbroken for billions of years on this Earth. And trust me, there is nothing more magnificent than this to behold.