State of Kuwait was one of the first three countries to establish diplomatic relations with Bhutan back in 1983 and it provided huge financial support for Bhutan’s development in the form of loans and grants.
Fast forward 7 years, Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces in 1990 and the Gulf War followed. By the end of the war, most of the government buildings in Kuwait were destroyed and official records burnt down. The Emir of Kuwait was now clueless about his financial transactions – loans, grants, charity – as all the records turned into ashes. He requested the governments world over to provide whatever data they had about Kuwait’s financial transactions with them.
But will a person who owes you money remind you that he has taken money from you?
Four weeks later, they received a trunk full of documents. It was the FIRST set of documents provided by any foreign government upon Kuwait’s request. The Emir was surprised to know that it came from Bhutan – one of the poorest nations of the world at that time. The trunk came with a note of apology from the Bhutanese King – ‘apology for the delay in providing the requested documents as they had to import photocopiers from India’.
The Emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, was so touched by the honesty and humbleness of the King of Bhutan that he sent him a BMW car as a gift. The King of Bhutan, being the simple man he is, decided not to use the car for himself and gave it to the Bhutanese diplomatic mission in India and reverted to the Emir of Kuwait with a note of thanks. As a token of love and respect, he also sent a handcrafted wooden table with Emir’s name engraved on it.
Emir of Kuwait had been receiving expensive gifts and souvenir from many state heads but this was for the first time that he got such a simple gift – so simple yet so special. He was deeply impressed by the simplicity of the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
But the story is not over yet. Now Emir being Emir, sent a fleet of 5 BMWs as a return gift to the King of Bhutan.
Yes. 5 brand new BMWs.
2 of these were given to foreign diplomatic missions of Bhutan.
2 were reserved for visiting foreign dignitaries.
And 1 was given to the office of BBS (Bhutan Broadcasting Service).
Bhutan and Bhutanese must be proud that they had a great King like Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah