The Kumaon Himalayan mountain range with a view of flying migratory birds, as seen from Uttarakhand, India. (iStock)

China’s increasingly assertive approach to international diplomacy has been widely discussed with regard to strategic stress points such as the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait. But tensions have also been increasing between India and China along their 2,100-mile border in the Himalayas, including a 10-week face-off between the two countries’ troops in 2017 and fatal hand-to-hand fighting in 2020.

Yet China’s latest move in the Himalayas is unusually provocative: It is carrying out full-scale settlement in another country’s territory.

That country is Bhutan, which lies directly between China and India, close to areas where the two powers have clashed in the past.…  Seguir leyendo »

Before my family was expelled from Bhutan, in 1992, I lived with my parents and seven siblings in the south of the country. This region is the most fertile part of that tiny kingdom perched between Tibet and India, a tapestry of mountains, plains and alpine meadows. Our house sat in a small village, on terraced land flourishing with maize, millet and buckwheat, a cardamom garden, beehives and enough pasture for cows, oxen, sheep and buffaloes. That was the only home we had known.

After tightening its citizenship laws in the mid-1980s, Bhutan conducted a special census in the south and then proceeded to cast out nearly 100,000 people — about one-sixth of its population, nearly all of them of Nepalese origin, including my family.…  Seguir leyendo »

El pequeño reino de Bután, en el Himalaya, es conocido internacionalmente por dos cosas: unas tasas elevadas para la obtención de visados, que reducen la afluencia de turistas, y su política de fomento de la “felicidad nacional bruta”, en lugar del crecimiento económico. Las dos están relacionadas: más turistas podrían impulsar la economía, pero dañarían el medio ambiente y la cultura del país, por lo que a la larga reducirían su felicidad.

Cuando me enteré por primera vez del objetivo de Bután de aumentar al máximo la felicidad de su pueblo, no sabía si significaría de verdad algo en la práctica o si era simplemente otro lema político.…  Seguir leyendo »