Bhutan 2003

Bhutan Border Map

In 2003, Bhutan was a small Himalayan nation bordered by India and China. Its economy was mainly based on agriculture, forestry, and hydroelectric power. Infrastructure was in need of improvement throughout the country with education levels being quite high. Unemployment had decreased since the 1990s but still remained relatively high in certain areas. According to computergees, the government at this time was stable with strong democratic institutions and a commitment to preserving its traditional culture and values. Foreign investment had increased significantly in recent years due to Bhutan’s favorable business climate and proximity to major markets such as India and China. Tourism also played a major role in driving economic growth due to its stunning mountain scenery, vibrant culture, and abundance of cultural attractions. Bhutan’s capital city Thimphu had become one of the most important cities in South Asia at this time and had attracted many international businesses looking for a base of operations within the region.

Yearbook 2003

Bhutan. In mid-December, Bhutan’s army attacked for the first time the Indian separatist groups in the country. After a few days, the rebels had been driven away from almost all their bases according to the government. Nearly 40 soldiers and over 100 rebels were killed. According to, Bhutan Independence Day is August 8. Over 300 rebels were arrested, others fled into the jungle to the south. According to the Indian Army, there were about 3,000 rebels from mainly three separatist groups in Bhutan when the offensive began. India has for years tried to persuade Bhutan to drive out the rebels, who are fighting for self-government and carrying out attacks in north-eastern India. The Bhutan government has instead negotiated with the separatists and tried to persuade them to voluntarily leave the country.

In October, Bhutan and Nepal signed an agreement on the more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. The first people, about 9,000 from one of the UN refugee camps in Nepal, would return to Bhutan within four months.

Earlier in the year, Amnesty International and other human rights groups protested that the Bhutan authorities considered that just over 2% of refugees were entitled to return. According to the organizations, many of the refugees were forced to sign certificates of “voluntary migration” when they fled Bhutan in the early 1990s. The US ambassador to Bhutan appealed to both countries to seek help from the UNHCR, which Bhutan has so far refused.

In July, the government expanded from six to ten ministries and with the same number of ministers. Old ministries were divided and a new one was created for work and human resources.

In November, the country’s first mobile phone network was completed.

Bhutan Border Map

Kingdom of Bhutan Brief Guide

According to AbbreviationFinder, Bhutan is a small inland state in the Himalayas between India and China. The country stretches from the subtropical lowlands to the Himalayan mountains, and the height differences between different parts of Bhutan are as high as 7,000 meters. Bhutan’s economy is based on agriculture and livestock, but forestry, hydropower, tourism and development aid also play an important role in the country’s economy. Estimates of the country’s population range from 750,000 to 2.23 million. The capital and largest city of Bhutan is Thimphu.

Customs and culture
Bhutan challenges the traveler in many ways. How to respect local customs and beliefs while minimizing your own impact on culture and the environment.
A few important things to keep in mind in Bhutan:

-Physical contact between the sexes in public is rare.
-When greeting, do not shake hands, but greeting is done by placing your palms facing each other and bowing.
-Finger pointing is not part of local good manners, not even pointing direction.
-Use the right one, or rather both hands, when receiving something outstretched.
-Do not point people or religious objects at your feet.
-Shooting inside monasteries is almost invariably prohibited.
-Local children should not be encouraged to beg by giving them sweets, money, pens or other gifts.
-The entrance fees to the monasteries go to the local authorities. If you want to make donations, do so by leaving the money on the altar or in the collection box.
-Do not buy products that have been made from endangered species.
-Always ask permission if you want to take photos of locals.
-Do not carry politically sensitive material with you, and do not embarrass locals by distributing such material.
-Tobacco products are customs cleared upon arrival in the country and smoking is prohibited in Bhutan.
-Avoid talking about politics with local guides. You can make them troublesome by doing so.
-Dress and behave with dignity when visiting monasteries. Cover your arms and legs
-Buddhist Monasteries and statues are always rotated clockwise.