Bhutan and the United Nations Organization
The Druk Gyalpo knew the significance of Bhutan becoming the member of the United Nations Organization if its independent status was to be recognized by the international community as well as receive support for its socio-economic development programmes. Bhutan applied for UNO membership and attended its General Assembly in 1970 as an observer. Bhutan was admitted as a member of UNO on 21 September 1971. On the occasion of Bhutan’s admission to the UNO, the country was represented by Prince Namgay Wanghuck,Lyonpo Sangay Penjor and and Lyonpo Dawa Tshering. The government of India played a significant hand in helping secure Bhutan’s membership into the UNO. B.S. Das, the first ambassador of India to Bhutan, was first person to inform and felicitate the Druk Gyalpo on Bhutan’s entry into the UNO.
Becoming a member of the UNO provided “a new gateway to the world” for Bhutan. It facilitated Bhutan to have bi-lateral and multi-lateral relationships with other countries. It also allowed Bhutan to become partners of development projects.
The membership of Bhutan to the UNO made Bhutan eligible for technical and financial aid from the UN and other developmental agencies. For instance, in 1973, an agreement with the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) promised US$ 3.3 million to Bhutan over the next three years. At the same time the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN organizations provided US$6 million for development projects in Bhutan. Since then,other UN agencies such as the FAO, WHO, UNESCO have all been involved in the development projects of Bhutan.
Above all, by becoming a UNO member, Bhutan’s sovereign status was validated by the global community. As a member of UNO, Bhutan can also participate in supporting the sovereignty and independence of other states. For instance, Bhutan was the second country to recognize the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. It also shouldered the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security by condemning, for instance, Nuclear Test.
Thus, the efforts made by Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in making Bhutan a member of the UNO is a milestone in the history of the country as it ensured its independent status.