The ancient world order was dominated by chieftains or monarchy. There were a number of kingdoms co-located, competing against each other for resources, domination or for their survival. Monarchy was an important factor in binding the population together and running administration of the state. The concept of nation state, which came into being in 1648 through the Treaty of Westphalia, catalysed the steady decline of the monarchy system to be replaced by alternate systems.
South Asia was also divided into numerous princely states ruled by monarchies. The kingdom boundaries transcended present-day borders as per jurisdiction of an empire. British invasion of the sub-continent demolished the existing kingdoms, merging into the empire as they vanquished the royals. Bhutan, a small kingdom to the north of India, consistently resisted British forays into their country. Bhutan till the 17th century was a fractious entity, ruled in different parts by chieftains/ warlords famously known as ‘Penlops’. The governors of other districts in Bhutan were nominated by the ‘Shabdrung’, however ‘Trongsa Penlop’ continued to be hereditary. The present monarchy traces its lineage to ‘Penlops of Trongsa’.
Monarchy as an institution
Monarchy in Bhutan, in the last 100 years of its reign, has shaped its evolution and was the single-most uniting factor in Bhutan. The period prior to that was of internecine conflicts and civil war among various warlords. It is the wisdom and statesmanship of the monarchy that has steered Bhutan to shape its distinct destiny, despite it being sandwiched between two competing Asian giants.
HM Ugyen Wangchuck (1907-1926)
His Majesty, the first king, faced the biggest challenge of Bhutan’s unification. Bhutan at the start of the 20th century was in a turmoil and was ruled in parts by chieftains/warlords. Establishment of the monarchy by His Majesty was the sole unifying factor for Bhutan. The second test was to fend off security challenges both from northern & southern borders by Tibetans & Britishers respectively.
HM Jigme Wangchuck (1926-1952)
When His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck ascended to the Bhutanese throne in 1926, he was only 21 years old. The beginning of His Majesty’s reign was started with political aspirations of his rivals competing for prominence. His initial years in power were focused towards giving Bhutan a stable political and governance platform.
HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1952-1972)
His Majesty, the third king opened up Bhutan to the world. His contribution to the modernisation of Bhutan is immense. He is credited with not only stabilising external situations as pertaining to northern borders with annexation of Tibet by China in 1959, but also kindling security relationship with India. His reign saw conception of Five Year Plan in 1966 for economic stimulus of Bhutan and parallel creation of security/diplomatic institutions such as Project Dantak, IMTRAT, Embassy of India, Paro International Airport and raising of RBA.
HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck (1972-2006)
His Majesty, the fourth king is truly revered in Bhutan due to his immense contribution in social upliftment of the country in fields of education, health governance. He has deftly handled boundary issues and strengthened the security apparatus of the country. As a statesman, he has shaped the foreign policy that has paid handsome dividends in bringing Bhutan out of isolation. He has maintained a fine balance in bilateral relationships with both India and China.
HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (2006 to till date)
His Majesty, the Druk Gyalpo is also affectionately called ‘people’s king’. His Majesty took over reigns from his father, the fourth king at a time when the world as whole and South Asia specially, was in a flux. The democratisation of Bhutan is the single prime achievement of Bhutanese monarchy which is unprecedented in the history of the world. The Druk Gyalpo was able to navigate nascent Bhutanese democracy through the initial teething period. He has also taken steps to modernise, train & equip Royal Bhutan Army to take on challenges of the 21st century.
Statesmanship by Their Majesties
Monarchy in Bhutan has immensely contributed towards the integration of the Bhutanese society, its inclusive growth and Bhutan’s bilateral relations with its neighbours. Indo-Bhutan ties have strengthened over the years under the stewardship of Their Majesties. The challenges that each king faced during his regime were unique. They always rose up to the occasion and have been instrumental in shaping the contours of prosperous Bhutan. Invariably, across the political spectrum, Bhutan is the first destination for the new incumbent Prime Minister of India to foster the deep bonds of friendship between the two nations.
The India-Bhutan border had been active in the past and a safe haven for Indian insurgent groups. In the year 2003, displaying proactive approach and solidarity towards India, Bhutan launched ‘Operation All Clear’ to cleanse Terai region from the menace of terrorism. Any vibrant democracy will look for diversifying its relationship with its neighbours. The seeds of democracy which were sown by His Majesty, the Druk Gyalpo, is blooming in Bhutan.
Royal Bhutan Army & Indian Army
RBA and IA have been enjoying an umbilical relationship since the inception of RBA. RBA has grown over the years from a ragtag militia to a professional outfit. The credit for this transformation is attributed to the vision of Their Majesties. Under the guidance of Their Majesties, the RBA today has graduated from border guarding tasks to nation building. His Majesty, the Druk Gyalpo has immensely expanded the charter of RBA today by making them primary stakeholders in the National Service Programme. Indian Army has been a key player in execution of the vision of His Majesty, the Druk Gyalpo by providing all assistance to RBA in training the trainers, provision of logistic support, etc.
Bhutan today has come up a long way from being a strife-torn society to a modern nation today. The transition to democracy, calibrated foreign policy despite being sandwiched between two Asian giants have all been steered by Their Majesties wisdom and statesmanship.
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Major push to Make in India in defence sector
To give a major push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atamanirbhar Bharat mission, the Indian Army has joined hands with various technology firms to cater to the demands of the present security scenario.
The Army says if it has to remain operational all around, it cannot rely on obsolete technology hence latest advancement in the sector have to be adopted.
“The Northern Command is always combat ready in the times to come, the challenges will continue to increase so we have to rely on advance technology and keep on innovating,” Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi told The Daily Guardian on the sidelines of the Northern Technology Symposium held in Udhampur on Sunday.
North Tech Symposium was organized under the aegis of HQ Northern Command at Udhampur. Technology symposium, exhibition was organised wherein 162 companies from Indian defence industry including MSMEs, DRDO, DPSU, participated and exhibited their products.
In addition, 42 innovative solutions by Army establishments towards enhancement of combat potential of the Army were also on display. Lt Gen BS Raju, Vice Chief of Army Staff inaugurated the first of its kind technology symposium in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the event, vice-chief of Army staff Lt Gen V S Raju said that he would have appreciated if the investors, capital ventures would have also shown interest in the event to boost the new start-up.
“To cope up with the ever-evolving and ever-changing security scenario, we also need to adopt changes and keep on innovating. I am happy that so many companies have shown interest to showcase their products at the North Tech Symposium. I am hopeful that in near future, many of the products would be put in use by the armed forces,” General Raju said.
In the wake of recent incidence of drone dropping in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab from across the Indo-Pak border, various companies have displayed their products including anti- drone system, drone jammer which can strengthen the forces and border guarding forces to thwart Pakistan’s plan of disturbing peace.
Other than drone dropping threats, detection of tunnels on Jammu and Kashmir border is also a major threat for the security forces these days as 11 tunnels have been detected on Indian-Pakistan border in the past few years. There was number of companies which showcased their products to detect underground tunnels by using artificial intelligence and special radar.
The symposium saw active participation from of senior officers from different forces including IDS, Army HQ, HQ ARTRAC, other Commands, HQ Northern Command, and its subordinate formations. This interactive platform for knowledge diffusion through Joint Army-Industry participation was an important step in the direction of the government’s initiative of “Make in India”.
On the first day of the seminar, the participants from Army and industry discussed the policy and procedures for expeditious procurement, Raksha Atmanirbharta initiatives by Indian Army, DRDO and Defence Public Sector Undertakings, how can private sector contribute towards surveillance system, weapon sights, drones and counter drone system and miscellaneous technologies like 3D printing.
The symposium served to showcase cutting edge technologies and innovative products providing solutions to some of the complex challenges faced by the security forces in Northern Command and also acted as an ideal platform for mutual exchange of ideas between the domestic defence industry and the Army. The technologies and products on display covered a wide canvas, the prominent ones being surveillance and situational awareness, tactical mobility, firepower, force protection, communications, combat medical facility, robotics and simulators.
The symposium was a huge success and Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, AVSM lauded the initiative and innovations of all the vendors. The General Officer expressed his conviction that the plethora of technologies available indigenously can further boost the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” project of the nation. The spirit of Atmanirbharta demands that research and development, the domestic defence industry and Army have work in a synchronized manner to realise the nation’s vision.
ARMY MAJOR SUCCUMBS TO INJURIES DURING OPERATION IN KASHMIR
An Indian Army Major lost his life after slipping into a ravine during a counter-infiltration operation in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
Late Major Raghunath Ahlawat, 34 was leading his team on a counter-infiltration operation based on reliable intelligence input. “To identify a safe approach for the team he led from the front while carrying out reconnaissance on a route through a steep cliff. “Unfortunately, he slipped due to bad weather and slippery conditions and fell 60 meters into a ravine. Critically injured, he succumbed to his injuries enroute while being evacuated to the nearest Army Hospital,” Indian Army officials said in a statement.
The Army paid tribute to the officer in a ceremony held in the Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar led by Chinar Corps Commander Lieutenant General DP Pandey.
Major Ahlawat was commissioned into the Army in 2012 and hails from Dwarka, New Delhi and is survived by his wife and his parents.
The mortal remains of Late Maj Raghunath Ahlawat were taken for last rites to his native place, where he would be laid to rest with full military honours.
FOR 114 FIGHTER JETS, IAF FAVOURS ‘BUY GLOBAL MAKE IN INDIA’ ROUTE
For over USD 20 billion tender for manufacturing 114 multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) the Indian Air Force (IAF) would prefer to take the ‘Buy Global Make in India’ route over the strategic partnership policy model to produce the planes within the country.
‘Buy Global Make in India’ is a category of procurement process provided in the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 under Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to smoothen the acquisition of foreign weapon systems and their production within the country under the ‘Make in India’ in the defence programme. Along with the indigenous LCA Tejas and the 5th Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft project, the 114 MRFA project would also be required by the IAF to maintain an edge over both the Northern and Western adversaries. We would prefer to go in for the Buy Global Make in India route which is preferred by the vendors also who are expected to take part in the programme, government sources said. Three American aircraft including the F-18, F-15 and F-21 (modified version of the F-16), Russian Mig-35 and Su-35 along with the French Rafale, Swedish Saab Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft are expected to participate in the programme. The Indian Air Force had also sought the views of these companies on the acquisition procedure that they would like to opt for in the programme and most of them have shown a preference for the Buy Global Make in India route only, they said.
The sources said that the force has also sought directions from the government on the project.
INDIA GETS DEFENCE SUPPLIES FROM RUSSIA, BUT PAYMENT MAY BECOME AN ISSUE
Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, defence supplies from Moscow are continuing as the Indian defence forces have received a shipment of overhauled aircraft engines and spares. However, there is concern about whether this would continue in the near future as a solution for making payment to Russia has not yet been found.
“The defence forces have received shipments from the Russians very recently and it is still on. So far, there has not been any glitch in supplies for our forces,” a government source told ANI.
“However, there are concerns on whether these supplies can continue in the same manner as the Indian side cannot make payments to these Russian firms in view of the sanctions related to their banks,” he added.
The sources said the Indian and Russian sides are working to find a way this issue can be overcome and many options are being explored.
The latest supplies from Russia included overhauled fighter aircraft engines and spares for an aircraft fleet and they arrived through the sea route, the sources said.
India also received the final parts of the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Russia whose first squadron is operational with its elements deployed to take care of threats from both Pakistan and China.
India is one of the largest users of Russian weaponry including major platforms like fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, warships, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and submarines.
Over the last couple of decades, it has broadened its source base by including equipment from countries like the US, France and Israel in a big way but the dependence on Russia still remains very high.
The Air Force is dependent majorly on the Russian supplies as its mainstay Su30 aircraft fleet is Russian along with its Mi-17 helicopter fleet.
The Army is also dependent on the Russian-origin T-90 and T-72 tank fleet for the armoured regiments.
IAF, ARMY BRASS WILL ASSESS LAC SITUATION
The top brass of the Indian Army and Air Force would be assessing the preparedness of their forces and infrastructure requirements along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the militaries of both India and China continue to remain in a standoff position in eastern Ladakh.
The Indian Air Force brass would be meeting this week from 6 April to discuss the security situation including air operations along the northern borders. The Indian Army commanders led by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane would be assessing the present deployments along eastern Ladakh and the northeastern sectors from 18 April onwards in the bi-annual commanders’ conference.
The top brass of the Indian Army had jointly discussed the infrastructure requirements and developments required by the Indian side from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh during a conference in Lucknow recently.
India has made several changes in its deployments post aggression shown by Chinese troops in April-May 2020.
India and China have been talking to each other at both military and diplomatic levels to address the issues but so far they have not been able to do so mainly because of Chinese reluctance. In recent talks to address the Patrolling Point 15 friction, they proposed a solution that was not acceptable to the Indian side.
Indian security establishment led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has been of the view that the issue would be resolved only if the Chinese completely disengaged and went back to pre April 2020 positions.The Indian side has strengthened its deployments manifold all along the LAC. The Indian Air Force has also started building advanced bases in the forward areas including infrastructure to operate fighter jets and attack helicopters from the forward fields such as Nyoma.
Sharp fall in infiltration of foreign terrorists, stone pelting: CRPF DG
There has been a sharp decline in the infiltration of foreign terrorists as well as in stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 from the erstwhile state, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldiep Singh said on Thursday.
However, noting the targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir, the officer said, “Some time there is a spurt in terrorist incidents” and the recent killing in “periodic series” are among those, and “it occurs”. Replying to queries during a press briefing here at the CRPF Headquarters, Singh said, “CRPF immediately try to control terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir soon after it gets inputs. These incidents are not totally controlled by internal terrorist people who are there. On many occasions, it is controlled by those sitting across the border and it is directed whom to be targeted or not.”
The CRPF DG reiterated that “some directions comes from foreign lands too”, and thus, “terrorist incidents some times increase and sometimes decrease” “It does not mean that things are out of hand…You can see that the incidents of stone-pelting are almost nil. There has been a sharp decline in the number of infiltration of foreign terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. Sometimes, there is a spurt in terrorist incidents but it happens,” he said.
The officer informed that the CRPF has neutralized 175 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and apprehended 183 from March 1, 2021, to March 16, 2022.
Meanwhile, the CRPF has recovered 253 arms from Jammu and Kashmir and seized 7,541 ammunition as well as 96.38 kg explosives, 23 Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 232 grenades, and 36 detonators from the Union Territory, Singh said. Further, he informed that as many as 91 encounters have taken place from March 1, 2021, to March 16 this year. CRPF is the premier Central Armed Police Force (CRPF) entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the internal security of the country. It is deployed across the length and breadth of the country, assisting various state police in the discharge of their duties. CRPF is providing security cover to 117 protectees of various categories, he said adding that 32 women personnel have been inducted into the VIP Security Wing.
A total of 41 VIPs were provided security cover by the CRPF during recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, the DG said adding that the security of 27 protectees has been withdrawn post-elections. The CRPF chief also said that under financial assistance from the risk fund, ex-gratia for personnel martyred in action has been increased to Rs 30 lakhs from Rs 20 lakhs, and for all other cases, the ex-gratia has been increased to Rs 20 lakhs from Rs 15 lakhs.
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