Challenges and change

Yet it is inevitable that Bhutan is changing. Five decades of development have had a dramatic impact on the Kingdom which has moved, in a short span of time, from the medieval age into the 21st century. A comprehensive network of roads, school and hospitals reaching their services to the people, a modern telecommunication system, increasing contact with the international community, urbanisation, and a growing private sector cannot but bring change. But, just as the Bhutanese people chose to guard their magical kingdom in its pristine form through the centuries, they are determined to balance development and change. The essence of modernisation in Bhutan has been a blend of tradition and progress. The protective Bhutanese psyche, which kept the kingdom in a jealously guarded isolation, is visible in the controlled tourism policy, strong sense of environmental protection, and the careful pace of all-round development. Bhutan has long decided that economic achievement is no replacement for its unique national identity. In the past, the kingdom fought aggression, in different forms, to safeguard its interests, its priorities, and its identity. The future will be no different.