From GDP to GNH
It isn't difficult to imagine why Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his Bhutan visit will remain 'etched' in his memory for long.
Its strategic geo-political significance aside, the Himalayan kingdom, dotted with ancient monasteries, robed monks and fluttering flags flying across pristine mountain ranges bares out the impression of an idyllic way of life that has enticed travelers, campaigners and politicians alike.
Bhutan in some sense also dispells the preeminence of the global consensus on resource-driven laissez faire development that the rest of the world has taken for granted.
Its most successful export - the concept of the Gross National Happiness has now become part of global conversation on replacing existing measures of economic prosperity and wellbeing.
And its peaceful transition from absolute monarchy to thriving democracy has lent further credibility to the country's firm resolution to chart its own exclusive course of 'progress' while selectively embracing modernity, becoming in the way the envy of a region wracked with political turmoil.
Text: Nikhil Inamdar, Business Standard
Image: Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay shakes hands with PM Narendra Modi.
Image courtesy: Reuters