Ly­onch­hen Ad­dress at the Vi­brant Gur­jarat Sum­mit

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Prime Min­is­ter Shri Naren­dra Modi, Chief Min­is­ter Shri­mati Anandiben Pa­tel, dis­tin­guished del­e­gates, ladies and gen­tle­men:

I have the honor to con­vey to you the greet­ings of His Majesty the King and the peo­ple of Bhutan. When I met Prime Min­is­ter Modi dur­ing the SAARC sum­mit in Kathmandu – that was just six weeks ago Sir – I in­formed him that Their Majesties the King and Queen of Bhutan had re­cently vis­ited Varanasi and Bod­hgaya on a pil­grim­age. They had found their pil­grim­age very sat­is­fy­ing.and spir­i­tu­ally ful­fill­ing.

Is liya, may­nay Modi-ji say khaha tha ki, may-bi dharmik ya­tra kay liya Varanasi aur Bod­hgaya jaunga. Laykin ha­mara le-ay, dharmik ya­tra kay sath sath may, aik arthik ya­tra be ba­hoot za­roori hay. Aur may­nay khaha tha ki, is ya­tra kay liya – mayrey arthik ya­tra kay liya – may Gu­jarat jana chaunga.

I will be­gin my spir­i­tual pil­grim­age later this week. I will visit Varanasi and Bod­hgaya. But first I am on an eco­nomic pil­grim­age.

That’s why I am here, in Gu­jarat, the heart­land of In­dia’s econ­omy, de­lighted to be tak­ing part in the Vi­brant Gu­jarat Sum­mit.

Mu­jhe yaha Vi­brant Gu­jarat par bu­lanay kay liya, mei Bharat ka Prad­han Mantri-ji ko hardik danyabad dena chata hun. Aur, sath sath mei, Gu­jarat ka Mukya Mantri-ji ko bhey ba­hoot ba­hoot shukriya keyna chata hun.

Vi­brant Gu­jarat is a phe­nom­e­non. This sum­mit is al­ready the world’s lead­ing plat­form for the ex­change of ideas, in­no­va­tion and knowl­edge. What is dis­cussed here by business lead­ers, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and thought lead­ers in­flu­ences the pol­i­tics and economies of en­tire coun­tries, not just in South Asia, but across the world.

This is how I see it: when Gu­jarat vi­brates, its vi­bra­tions spread quickly through In­dia to the rest of the world, and that in­cludes my coun­try in the mighty Hi­malayas. Al­low me to in­tro­duce my coun­try. Bhutan is a small coun­try tucked away in the Hi­malayas, and sand­wiched be­tween the world’s two big­gest coun­tries, In­dia and China.

Our econ­omy is small. With a GDP of barely 1.7 bil­lion dol­lars, I am acutely aware that many of the del­e­gates in attendance here are worth more – are worth more in­di­vid­u­ally – than the en­tire GDP of my coun­try. In fact, some of you are worth many, many, many times more.

Our econ­omy may be small, but we have used our limited re­sources wisely. Health­care, for ex­am­ple, is com­pletely free. And so is ed­u­ca­tion – all chil­dren en­joy free ed­u­ca­tion, not just free pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, but free sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion as well … and free col­lege ed­u­ca­tion.

Our econ­omy may be small, but it is green, and it is sus­tain­able. Our many fast flow­ing rivers are a source of re­new­able clean en­ergy.

Tourists who visit us ex­pe­ri­ence the ex­clu­siv­ity of what we call high­value, lowvol­ume tourism. And as for agri­cul­ture, a good 95% of our farm­ing is ei­ther still nat­u­ral or fully or­ganic.

Our econ­omy may be small, but we’ve en­joyed some re­mark­able suc­cesses. I’ll give you three quick ex­am­ples. One, we have achieved eco­nomic growth, but with­out de­stroy­ing our pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment.

As a re­sult, 72% of our coun­try is un­der for­est cover, more than half the coun­try is pro­tected as na­tional parks and wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies, and we have pledged to re­main car­bon-neu­tral for all time to come.

Two, we have achieved so­cial progress, but with­out un­der­min­ing our rich cul­ture and her­itage. We are the last sur­viv­ing Ma­hayana Bud­dhist coun­try, but truth be told, our tra­di­tions are not just sur­viv­ing; they are thriv­ing. And three, we have achieved democ­racy, but with­out fight­ing for it. Our peo­ple didn’t want democ­racy, so it was in­tro­duced in an un­prece­dented man­ner: gifted by the Throne, against the will of the peo­ple. Our democ­racy is only 7 years old, but it is al­ready well in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized – it is vi­brant and deeply en­trenched.

All this, and more, has been pos­si­ble only be­cause of the ex­tra­or­di­nary lead­er­ship of our Kings. Our en­light­ened Mon­archs are the ar­chi­tects of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness, a unique de­vel­op­ment phi­los­o­phy that strives to care­fully bal­ance ma­te­rial growth with in­clu­sive­ness, sus­tain­abil­ity and good gov­er­nance.

Our Fourth King has fa­mously said that for Bhutan, Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness is more im­por­tant than Gross Na­tional Prod­uct. Sakal rashtriya khooshi, sakal rashtriya ut­pad sey jyada za­roori hey… GNH is more im­por­tant than GNP.

GNH at­tracts con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion at home and in­ter­na­tion­ally. As such, schol­ars and philoso­phers, politi­cians and econ­o­mists have of­fered to de­fine GNH in count­less ways. But His Majesty the King has re­peat­edly re­minded us that Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness sim­ply means “de­vel­op­ment with val­ues.”

Much of what we have achieved in Bhutan has been pos­si­ble be­cause of the friend­ship and support of In­dia, our close friend and neigh­bor.

I wish to thank Prime Min­is­ter Modi, his gov­ern­ment, and peo­ple of In­dia for their stead­fast friend­ship and con­tin­ued support.

I’ve given you this quick in­tro­duc­tion of my coun­try, be­cause I want to in­vite you to visit Bhutan. I want to tempt you to visit my coun­try to breath our fresh air, to see our clear skies, to taste our clean wa­ter,

to meet our friendly peo­ple, to en­joy our rich cul­ture, to ex­pe­ri­ence Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness. If you like what you see, if you like how you feel, if you can con­nect with us, then, and only then, I in­vite you to con­sider in­vest­ing in my coun­try.

Bhutan is open for business. We have a work­force that is well ed­u­cated; we have clean en­ergy that is very cheap; we have eco­nomic poli­cies that are busi­ness­friendly; we have peace and sta­bil­ity; and, most im­por­tantly, we have free ac­cess to In­dia’s huge mar­ket.

Bhutan is open for business. But only for busi­nesses that are clean, green and sus­tain­able. For that rea­son we wel­come in­vest­ments in re­new­able en­ergy and hy­dropower, or­ganic farm­ing and tourism, and ed­u­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

Bhutan is open for business. So if you are in­ter­ested in do­ing business in Bhutan; if you are in­ter­ested in do­ing Business with Val­ues; if you are in­ter­ested in do­ing business with Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness; then I am in­ter­ested in meet­ing you … here in Gu­jarat, or, bet­ter still, soon in Bhutan.

Thank you for your kind at­ten­tion.


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