Orientation: Starting with the ongoing boundary issues with China in his address to the graduates during the closing of the National Graduates Orientation Program (NGOP), Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay yesterday spoke to the graduates on the country’s journey as a sovereign nation.

Listening to the graduates’ opinions about their personal ambitions, lyonchoen also spoke to them about the country’s ambitions. He said that the youth must value the country’s sovereignty.

For a landlocked country with around 700,000 people, located between India and China, lyonchoen said independence and sovereignty is of utmost importance.

Lyonchoen said a country does not gain sovereignty automatically. “It is because of our forefathers and our monarchs,” lyonchoen said. “We must be grateful to them for giving us sovereignty.”

Lyonchoen also pointed out that democracy, which he said was the gift from the throne, is a collective responsibility of the young people of the country. The Kings not only gave the people sovereignty but strengthened it.

“It is a sacred responsibility, which now falls on us,” Lyonchoen said. “Protect the country’s unique democracy to protect the sovereignty.”

Elaborating on the topic, lyonchoen also specified the country’s journey of struggle in safeguarding its independence. He said there were 17 attempts and attacks made on Bhutan by Tibet between 1616 and 1730, and that the country experienced internal turmoil and during the 1990s, and militancy in the early 2000s.

Joining the Colombo Plan and the UN, including the diplomatic relations with other countries in the global arena were other examples, lyonchoen said. Our Kings have done so much for protecting the nation’s sovereignty through such participation, he said.

Changes in the Indo-Bhutan treaty was another illustration the graduates were educated on. Article two and article six of the treaty were the special mentions.

“Our Kings have worked so hard in building friendship with India,” lyonchoen said.

Free education and healthcare facilities were the other two important topics lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said. He said to the graduates that it was their turn now to give back to the King, country, and people and to the future generations.

Meanwhile, at the closing remark, the Prime Minister said he saw the graduates “as opportunity” for themselves, their family, and the country. He said he was at the graduates’ side.

“But do not expect miracles,” he said, relating the job competition in the market. “Take what is there and do not lose focus.”

The Prime Minister also shared his personal mobile number and his email address with the graduates yesterday. Lyonchoen and his team will take on any queries and concerns expressed through these contacts.

The 14th orientation program that concluded yesterday saw a total of 2,762 graduates, out of which 2,370 are unemployed. There were 283 government, 37 private, and 36 corporate employees.

Rajesh Rai, Thimphu