Your Excellency the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan (and my dear nephew cum brother-in-law),
I have just completed a tour of the world on your behalf. I must say, as the longest serving Ambassador in Delhi for a long time, I didn’t do as much travelling as I did in the last year or two.
I find that the countries my daughter Doma and you selected for establishing diplomatic relations are quite odd. Most of them haven’t got a clue where Bhutan is! The widening of diplomatic relations is easy except for the endless dinners and teas with the government officials of these countries. It makes your sister unhappy as it takes the shopping time. For me, it is difficult to have a conversation because there is nothing Bhutan and these countries can do with each other. I mean, what can we do with Morocco and Armenia? Or Swaziland? Nonetheless, I fully support your effort to leave a legacy of having expanded Bhutan’s foreign relations and moved us away from India’s big brother domination. I do have some trouble trying to explain myself to the Indians because I spent so many years there as Bhutan’s Ambassador. The close and special bond between Bhutan and India was never doubted at that time. The 180-degree turn you have made in this policy means I have to avoid Delhi as a transit stop when I travel. Still, I feel this new policy is a necessary evil. Otherwise as Bhutan’s first Prime Minister you have nothing to distinguish yourself from the past rule.
On other matters, I want to know when my DSA and TA/DA will be increased to minister levels with discretionary allowances. The vehicles on my duty at the various embassies are also below par, my wife keeps saying. We should be received by the Ambassador at the airport and his vehicle should be detailed for us. In countries without embassies we must have a Mercedes or BMW not Toyota. Thank you for the special car on duty in Thimphu but even that needs to be upgraded.
When will my Doma become Foreign Secretary. I don’t think it is necessary for her to become Ambassador first. As she has no husband and family she might find it lonely abroad. I think she is ready for the big job in any case. If we can get her as Foreign Secretary as soon as possible, it will open the possibility for her to do bigger things after that, in politics or in a multilateral institution, with you.
And for goodness sake, get those people out of DHI. Palden (EDITOR – his son), Palden (EDITOR – PM’s son) and Palden (EDITOR – his son’s brother in law) could do a much better job with people like Palden (EDITOR – Galang Rinchhen’s son) working for them.
By the way, my wife has taken the liberty to add a few countries to our itinerary wherever we go because it can easily be justified as a visit to push our case for the UN SC seat. It helps to bring some DSA that allows for some shopping and supplements my pension pay.
Jigmi, I am quite happy with the way in which our family has turned out. Democracy which I was wary about has turned out very well for us. Politics, government, business…, we lead in all sectors. Having spent my career promoting Indo-Bhutan friendship, I am now profiting from its decline. I am wondering why we didn’t move to democracy earlier in the anti-national 90’s. Maybe we should do a reverse policy on census and ngolops as well. They might be a very good vote-bank.
Anyway, what I want to say is well done, Jigmi. My children have been working hard for you. One day they will continue what you’re doing for the family.
With warm regards,
Lyonpo Dago Tshering.
PS: Tshokey (EDITOR – his wife) says to say hello and wonders whether you might bring her shopping suitcases and the furniture she bought in New York, when you come back. We would have had to pay huge excess baggage if we brought it. Its with Lhatu (EDITOR – the Ambassador in NY). Pinky (EDITOR – The other Ambassador in NY) has the boxes with socks we want to sell to the Gups and party workers. Bring those too. And tell Chang Ugyen to help us sell them.
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