Bhutan

Bhutan, country of south-central Asia, located on the eastern ridges of the Himalayas. Historically a remote kingdom, Bhutan became less isolated in the second half of the 20th century, and consequently the pace of change began to accelerate. With improvements in transportation, by the early 21st century a trip from the Indian border to the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu, that once took six days by mule could be made in just a few hours by car along a winding mountain road from the border town of Phuntsholing. The governmental structure also changed radically. Reforms initiated by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (reigned 1952–72) in the 1950s and ’60s led to a shift away from absolute monarchy in the 1990s and toward the institution of multiparty parliamentary democracy in 2008.

The economic core of Bhutan lies in the fertile valleys of the Lesser Himalayas, which are separated from one another by a series of high and complex interconnecting ridges extending across the country from north to south. The political nucleus of Bhutan is centred in the Paro and Thimphu valleys in the Lesser Himalayan region. Its location between the Assam-Bengal Plain of India to the south and the Plateau of Tibet of southwestern China to the north gives the country considerable geopolitical significance. (Britannia)

Bhutan has a low crime rate. Incidents of petty crime are occasionally reported in the country. Violent crime is very uncommon. Some cases of drug abuse are reported; alcohol abuse is a problem. But in general, drug trafficking is low. The most serious threat to Bhutan’s security is terrorism by different terrorist groups from neighboring countries illegally camped in the nation.

Serious crimes were very uncommon in Bhutan throughout most of the 20th century. There were reports of increased criminal activity since the 1980s and early 1990s. The main causes of the rise in crime are the influx of foreign laborers, widening economic disparities, and more contact with foreign cultures.

In June 1999, television was introduced in the country and Bhutan became the last nation in the world to have television. The introduction of television is often regarded as incompatible with Bhutanese culture and a cause behind the increase in crime. An editorial in Kuensel, the national newspaper of Bhutan, suggested:

We are seeing for the first time broken families, school dropouts and other negative youth crimes. We are beginning to see crime associated with drug users all over the world – shoplifting, burglary and violence.”

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