Beyond India and China: Bhutan as a Small State in International Relations

Nitasha Kaul
2021 International Relations of the Asia-Pacific  
This article makes a novel contribution to the literature on Bhutan's International Relations (IR) by shifting the focus away from an exclusively India–China framing. First, it points out how small states are increasingly salient but under-studied in IR and how non-European non-island states like Bhutan are even more so, and why we gain by addressing this. Second, it shows how the conventional study of Bhutan has solely focused on its friendship with India and the threat to it/this from China,
more » ... nd why it is important that these conventional narratives be critically examined. In doing so, we perceive the endogenous drivers of Bhutan's foreign policies, for instance via Bhutan's stance on the Doklam issue. Third, going beyond the three typical determinants (economic factors, bilateral relations with India, and threats from China), the article provides two additional axes of understanding Bhutan's foreign policies – bridging of attributional distances and learning from experience.
doi:10.1093/irap/lcab010 fatcat:goipxbtmxjhbvljjxzsgjjxuxi