Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Bhutan’s prime minister promotes hard work as the means to happiness

Bhutan’s first road was built 52 years ago and its infrastructure today is still inadequate. Tshering Tobgay wants the nation’s young people to embrace the idea of building up the nation themselves

By Gardiner Harris  /  NY Times News Service, THIMPHU, Bhutan

“Opening embassies is expensive,” he said. “We have to understand how poor we are.”

He expressed a clear preference for India, which gives Bhutan considerable financial assistance, over China.

“The friendship between India and Bhutan transcends party politics and personalities,” he said with some warmth.

When asked about the country’s other neighbor, his face fell. “We engage with China. That is a reality.”

While he intends to spend little time on international affairs, he said he would make an exception to play basketball with Obama.

“I need to practice my 3-pointers, sharpen my elbows and strengthen my shoulders,” he said with a clear understanding of foreign diplomacy. “You’re a superpower, so my only chance is going one on one.”

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