The geographical location of Bhutan provided a safe haven for the militants from across the border. The country had been a hideout to the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO). These insurgents who were up in arms against the Indian government had established several bases in the Bhutanese forests.
The presence of the insurgents in Bhutan posed a threat to the people and to national security. The life of the people and their movement became unsafe and several Bhutanese citizens lost their lives. Development activities along the border areas slowed down and almost came to a halt. It also threatened to endanger the centuries old Indo- Bhutanese relationship.
The militant groups were asked to leave the Bhutanese soil peacefully. Numerous rounds of dialogue were conducted. Deadlines after deadlines were given. But the persuasions failed to yield results. When all attempts for peaceful negotiations failed, Bhutan had no other choice but to launch a military strike against the insurgents. The fateful day was December 15, 2003.
The operation was led by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck himself.
To the happiness of all Bhutanese and the astonishment of the world, the militants were flushed out in a short span of three days, thanks to the leadership provided by the King.
Gone are the days when Kings personally lead their troops into battlefields. By personally leading his troops into the battlefield, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck created history and became a role model and inspiration for the Bhutanese and the world.
This article is the 8th article in this series of 9 articles titled “Paeans to the King”.
Reprinted from “Paeans to the King”, a free complimentary advertisement booklet with the 11th November 2007 issue of the Bhutan Times.