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International Politics of Bhutan

Keywords: International Politics in Bhutan

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This paper discusses the extent to which internationalrelations theories, which are mainly based on the behaviorand interest of the big powers, explain the internationalbehavior of small states. In order to do so, four differenttheories that are most commonly used to explain theinternational behavior of small states are reviewed briefly.Bhutan’s international affairs, emphasizing on its relationswith India is described and explanations provided using thesetheories. These theories predict that other small states wouldbehave in a similar manner. To test this, Bhutan’s relationwith India is compared with the relation between Nepal andIndia. Nepal’s relations with India differ from that ofBhutan’s. This difference is empirically supported by theirvoting behavior in the United Nations. The exiting theories failto explain different relations of two similar states vis-à-vis abig neighbour. Some alternative explanations have beenprovided. The paper concludes by emphasizing that noexisting international relations theories explain the behaviorof small states. More studies incorporating cultural, politicaland social characteristics and involving foreign policy expertsof small states are suggested.


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