Israel and the reclusive kingdom of Bhutan establish diplomatic ties

Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka and his Bhutanese counterpart signed the final agreement normalizing ties on Saturday night. The Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, situated in the Himalayas and bordering on India and Tibet, has gone to great lengths to isolate itself from outside influences. It has formal diplomatic ties with only 53 countries, not including the US, UK, France and Russia – or China since the 1959 invasion of Tibet. Tourism is also limited.

Bhutanese citizens have participated in agricultural programs in Israel. Their main export is hydroelectric energy to next-door India. While its 800,000 citizens are rated the happiest people in the world, Bhutanese are also among the world’s poorest.

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