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India and Bhutan: The Strategic Imperative

Ambassador P. Stobdan was Senior Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • IDSA Occasional Paper No. 36

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed aware about the nuances that underpin India's cultural and political obligations in Asia. By making Bhutan as his first visit abroad followed by a visit to Nepal, he has effectively invoked the deeper imperatives to revitalize India's national interests. The subject of Indo-Bhutan relations remained enigmatic until the critics cried shrilly over the 2013 crisis that had put the ties under major strain. Bhutan's drift seemed startling and with China stepping up its contacts, the impact was palpable on the ground – creating a string of political electrons. The breakdown and the fracas with Bhutan underlies why New Delhi needs to recast its neighbourhood policy and make a shift away from a “manage the situation” approach. Prime Minister Modi has tried to revive the defining spirit behind the Indo-Bhutanese friendship. The challenging task however is how he brings Bhutan to play an integral role into India's China policy.

    About the Author

    Ambassador (Prof.) P. Stobdan is a distinguished academician, diplomat, author and foreign policy/national security expert. Prof. Stobdan has been India's Ambassador to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan from 2010- 2012. Currently, he is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

    Ambassador Stobdan has earlier served in the Embassy of India, Almaty in 1999 – 2002. He was formerly with India's National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). Prof Stobdan also served as Director at the Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS) in 2006-2008. He is the Founding President of the Ladakh International Centre, Leh. His recent book Central Asia: Democracy, Instability and Strategic Game in Kyrgyzstan was published in 2014.

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