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India: Bhutan
Country Study > Chapter 9 > Foreign Relations > Overview of Foreign Relations > South Asia > Bhutan


Despite the long and substantial involvement of India in Bhutan's economic, educational, and military affairs, and India's advisory role in foreign affairs embodied in the August 8, 1949, Treaty of Friendship Between the Government of India and the Government of Bhutan, Thimphu's autonomy has been fully respected by New Delhi. Bhutan's geographic isolation, its distinctive Buddhist culture, and its deliberate restriction on the number and kind of foreigners admitted have helped to protect its separate identity. Furthermore, Bhutan's relationship with China, unlike Nepal's, has not become an issue in relations with India. Bhutanese subjects have the same access to economic and educational opportunities as Indian citizens, and Indian citizens have the right to carry on trade in Bhutan, with some restrictions that protect Bhutanese industries. India also provides Bhutan with developmental assistance and cooperation in infrastructure, telecommunications, industry, energy, medicine, and animal husbandry. Since joining the UN in 1971, Bhutan has increasingly established its international status in a concerted effort to avoid the fate of Sikkim's absorption into India following the reduction of Sikkim's indigenous people to minority status.

Data as of September 1995

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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