Bhutan

sovereign state in South Asia

Bhutan ( (listen); Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, romanized: Druk Yul [ʈuk̚˩.yː˩]), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, romanized: Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, China and the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal in the west, and the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh in the south and east. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second-least-populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center. Bhutan's independence has endured for centuries. It has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory comprised many fiefdoms and was governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire. After the end of the British Raj, Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism; it has a disputed border with China. In the early 1990s, the government deported much of the country's Nepali-speaking Lhotsampa minority, sparking a refugee crisis in nearby Nepal. In 2008, Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan. The National Assembly is part of the bicameral parliament of the Bhutanese democracy.The country's landscape ranges from lush subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks higher than 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Gangkhar Puensum is Bhutan's highest peak and may also be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The wildlife of Bhutan is notable for its diversity. In South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business, and peace, and is the least corrupt country in the region as of 2016. It continues to be a least developed country, but expects to graduate from this status by 2023. Hydroelectricity accounts for most of its exports. The government is a parliamentary democracy; the head of state is the King of Bhutan, known as the "Dragon King." Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union, but does not have formal ties with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It is a member of the United Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC and the Non-Aligned Movement. The Royal Bhutan Army maintains a close relationship with the Indian Armed Forces. Bhutan is also notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness.
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