On 25 June 2002, the Crown Prince was awarded the Red Scarf by his father.
On 31 October 2004, Khesar was installed as the 16th Trongsa Penlop in Trongsa Dzong. The institution of the Trongsa Penlop, started by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1647, signifies the true heritage to the Bhutanese Throne and the investiture ceremony of the Trongsa Penlop is the formal declaration of this status of the Crown Prince.
The King signed a new treaty of friendship with India in February 2007, replacing the treaty of 1949. Many government initiatives were undertaken by the new King with a view to strengthen the system in preparation for the democratic changes in 2008. The Constitution of Bhutan was adopted on 18 July 2008, by the first elected parliament.
There are several Kidu schemes designed to help certain groups of people, such as students unable to afford even the free education available in the country, elderly citizens, those requiring medical treatments. The King has also continued the tradition of giving state land to landless farmers around the country. The ongoing project takes the King to remote villages and communities. An aspect of Kidu includes providing immediate assistance to victims of natural disasters. The King personally supervised the rebuilding efforts following major earthquakes and floods in 2009 and 2011.
In November 2011, the King with Queen Jetsun made a state visit to Japan; they were the first state guests to Japan since the 2011 earthquake. The Royal Visit had a similar effect, with reports that the Japanese were infatuated with the King and country.
In 2012, Nu.100 million from the Armed Forces was granted by the king to the Zhung Dratshang for the Dzong Reconstruction Fund, as on 24 June, the historic Wangduephodrang Dzong was destroyed by fire. As Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the King commanded the armed forces and De-suups to the site immediately, and with help from dzongkhag officials and citizens, many things were saved from the fire. The King himself rushed to the scene within hours.
The "People's King", like his father, enjoys exceptionally warm relations with India. He has visited India on several occasions, and was invited as the Chief Guest for India's 64th Republic Day celebrations in 2013.
The Constitution of Bhutan empowers the King to grant amnesty to prisoners. In 2014, he pardoned 45 prisoners who had been imprisoned for possessing an excessive amount of tobacco, following an amendment of the Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan 2010 by the Parliament of Bhutan, since the amended law could not be enforced retroactively, and previous offenders who would not be liable now would still be tried under previous laws. The Royal Pardon was granted to those who were not repeat offenders and who had good prison records. The prisoners still had to pay a fine as the tobacco law had changed.
In March 2015, the King and Queen were among the foreign dignitaries who attended the funeral of Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
The King has stressed the importance of education in almost all his public addresses, and makes it a point to visit schools at every opportunity. In line with this, he grants scholarships to students from different parts of the country. The recipients of His Majesty’s Scholarship Kidu go to various colleges and schools in Bhutan, India, Thailand, The Philippines, Singapore, Japan and Europe. Several scholarships, like the Trongsa Penlop Scholarship, have been offered by universities abroad to His Majesty as a gesture of goodwill, and appreciation of, His Majesty The King.