27 noviembre, 2015
A few days ago I had the pleasure to interview Ian Patrick Guerrero Triay the consul of Bhutan and the first representative in Spain of this mystical country situated in the Himalayas.
We must stress that Mr Ian has been a very important person in terms of establishing diplomatic relations between these two countries, for example in 2010 the Prime Minister of Bhutan made his official visit to Spain and thanks to him this Prime Minister had the opportunity to achieve meetings with important figures of the Spanish scene as the King of Spain, strengthening the diplomatic ties between Bhutan and Spain.
We can say that the major target of Bhutan towards Spain is the tourism, as Mr Ian said “the percentage of Spaniards who travel to Bhutan are usually a few hundred, then one of the short-term objectives between both countries would be to increase tourism from Spain towards Bhutan, improving the country’s development”.
Speaking of tourism I asked to him why in the past the Government of Bhutan restricted the entrance of tourists and if there is any type of restriction now a days, in this issue he remarked ” the only thing that wanted and want now a days the government of Bhutan is to achieve a high quality and environmentally friendly tourism, also, we have to say that today there is not any restriction but what the government want to do is to avoid mass tourism like happened in Nepal “.
We have to say that Bhutan is a very Small state with less than 700.000 inhabitants and its between two major states of the world that are China and India, in words of Mr Ian Bhutan is ” the meat between two slices of a sandwich” and he said “Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world and because of this economically depends heavily of India, this country also, is the major financier of Bhutan, with Indian finance of long-term soft loans Bhutan is building dams to generate electricity with the fall of water from the Himalayas, thus supplying the north of India creating strong ties between these countries and improving development”
When I was with him I also asked about the diplomatic relations between China and Bhutan, he told me that they are not as strong as the relations with India, but Mr Ian said to me that they maintain cordial relations. ” one of the reasons why China and Bhutan do not maintain great relationships is because these countries are divided by the Himalayas and this means that they are very badly connected and also we have to say that the boundaries between them are no well defined, because of this sometimes tensions are created” he remarked.
The international organization Freedom of house gave to Bhutan in 2005 the status of a not free country and in 2015 they have given to this country the status of a partly free state, because of this I asked him what happened during this years and he answered me “the former King of Bhutan abdicated in favor of his son to modernize the country and get a totally free and democratic country, in 2008 the first constitution was introduced to achieve this goal, based on more than 50 constitutions and one of them being the Spanish constitution and after this first elections were held”.
It is known that the Bhutanese Government cares more about the happiness of the inhabitants than the country’s economy. “the government believes that the economic indicators are not the determinants of the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants because of this the actual king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck had created a index that is called Gross National Happiness an index that measures the happiness of the inhabitants” he remarked.
The organization Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has just published its World Giving Index and places Bhutan as one of the most supportive countries in the place 17 of 134 countries. About this issue he told me: “in my opinion this is because the majority of Bhutanese are Buddhists and have the sense of helping others very involved, in my travels I have observed this and I think that in our country we have to recover this idea”
Oihan Iglesias Lamuedra.