U.S. deepens ties with Bhutan

Two men seated side by side, talking (State Dept./Nicole Thiher)
Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan (left) meets with Bhutan's Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji in Thimphu on August 12. [State Dept./Nicole Thiher)

The U.S. is engaging countries large and small in the Indo-Pacific region, with Bhutan as the latest example.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan visited Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, August 12–13 to meet with King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and other Bhutanese government leaders.

The deputy secretary is the highest-level executive branch official from the United States to visit Bhutan in over two decades.

The economy of Bhutan, a mountainous country overflowing with rivers and forests, revolves around hydropower, agriculture and forestry. The country is also known as “the Land of the Thunder Dragon,” or Drukyul in Bhutanese, named for large thunderstorms that pass through its peaks and valleys.

The deputy secretary, along with U.S. Ambassador to India Ken Juster, also visited Kyichu Lhakhang, a seventh-century Buddhist temple, before sitting down with Prime Minister Tshering and Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji to discuss educational and economic opportunities for the Bhutanese people.

The deputy secretary travels next to India. Both India and Bhutan “are critical to preserving the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” the State Department said in a statement.