As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Myanmar, another country in the neighbourhood dealing with rapid change has dismissed talk of India's big brother attitude. The Prime Minister of the world's youngest democracy Bhutan Jigme Thinley, spoke exclusively to CNN-IBN's Amrita Tripathi on elections, India, and more.
Here is an excerpt of the interview:
Amrita Tripathi: We're very privileged to be speaking to his excellency the Prime Minster in Thimphu, Bhutan. And Bhutan being the world's youngest democracy, you'll be coming up on elections, within the year.
Jigme Thinley: Our elections are due sometime in the spring of next year. This will be on completion of five years of my term, the term of our government - the first democratically elected government. The big challenge has been more in terms of promoting a culture of democracy. Getting people to understand the meaning and essence of democracy, in understanding their role and ensuring it works to their advantage, and not to the advantage of politicians.
Amrita Tripathi: I do want to ask you, your message as Bhutan's Prime Minister to India at this point.
Jigme Thinley: The most important message I have to convey is truly the deepest appreciation and gratitude of the people of Bhutan and the royal government, for the generous support and assistance we have received in all these years. Bhutan is being appreciated by almost all visitors for the way we have conducted our development in our unique way, guided by our philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which is a way of balancing material growth and development with spiritual growth as well. Much of what we have achieved has been because of the support, cooperation and guidance we have received from India. So, thank you so much.