Prime Min­is­ter ad­dresses the Ben­gal Global Busi­ness Sum­mit ‘16

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Staff Reporter

Prime Min­is­ter Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay at­tended the se­cond ‘Ben­gal Global Busi­ness Sum­mit’ as the Chief Guest and de­liv­ered the key­note ad­dress at its in­au­gu­ral ses­sion last Fri­day. Ly­onpo Norbu Wangchuk, Min­istry of Eco­nomic Affairs and se­nior dig­ni­taries from Bhutan also ac­com­pa­nied the Prime Min­is­ter dur­ing the event.

Con­vey­ing the greet­ings of His Majesty the King and the peo­ple of Bhutan to an as­sem­bly of hun­dreds of del­e­gates and busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 25 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, Ly­onch­hen thanked the Chief Min­is­ter of West Ben­gal, H.E. Ma­mata Ban­er­jee for invit­ing him to this very im­por­tant sum­mit, a sum­mit which pro­vides an ex­cel­lent plat­form to share ideas and ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties.

His Ex­cel­lency’s open­ing re­marks ex­pressed his fond­ness for Ben­gal, its rich vi­brant cul­ture and its friendly peo­ple. Like nu­mer­ous other Bhutanese, the Prime Min­is­ter spent many years of his early school life in the hill sta­tion of Kalimpong in North Ben­gal.

Ly­onch­hen added that barely three months have passed since CM Ma­mata Ban­er­jee made her jour­ney of friend­ship to Bhutan, a visit that re­in­forced age old mul­ti­fac­eted ties de­fined by close bonds of friend­ship, good­will and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Bhutan and In­dia.

The Prime Min­is­ter said he was con­vinced that the ideas gen­er­ated dur­ing the sum­mit will gain mo­men­tum and re­ver­ber­ate well be­yond Ben­gal to also reach the high moun­tains of Bhutan.

“This Sum­mit is an ex­cel­lent plat­form to not just show­case Ben­gal’s po­ten­tial but to un­der­stand the vast op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie in the re­gion as well. I’ve been struck by the many sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Ben­gal’s vi­sion for its eco-sys­tem and Bhutan’s vi­sion of de­vel­op­ment that is guided by its phi­los­o­phy of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness. We both pur­sue eq­ui­table so­cio-eco­nomic de­velop- ment. We both cher­ish and value our rich cul­ture and tra­di­tions. We trea­sure our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. And good gov­er­nance and de­cen­tral­iza­tion is the fo­cus of our gov­ern­ments,” Ly­onch­hen stated.

The Prime Min­is­ter fur­ther lauded Ben­gal’s eco­nomic re­ju­ve­na­tion and all-round de­vel­op­ment and added that be­cause of its strate­gic lo­ca­tion, eco­nomic growth in Ben­gal will re­sult in rapid progress of an en­tire re­gion:

“Be­ing im­me­di­ate neigh­bours, Ben­gal’s progress will also un­doubt­edly have a pos­i­tive im­pact on Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Here, I am re­minded of what Rabindranath Tagore said when he ac­cepted the No­bel Prize, “When a light is lighted, it can­not he held within a short range. It is for the whole world.””

As a gen­uine friend and im­me­di­ate neigh­bour, Ly­onch­hen said Bhutan re­mains a well wisher for Ben­gal to suc­ceed and pros­per over the years to come.

“Our fu­tures and des­tinies are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked – eco­nom­i­cally, en­vi­ron­men­tally and in terms of se­cu­rity. And as we’ve done for cen­turies, Ben­gal and Bhutan have al­ways com­ple­mented each other. Like a car­ing friend, when one suc-

ceeds, the other is pulled up as well,” His Ex­cel­lency metioned.

His Ex­cel­lency also spoke on the busi­ness prospects Bhutan and Ben­gal could look for­ward to in the com­ing years.

“Bhutan, for ex­am­ple, can sup­ply cheap and clean en­ergy to power Ben­gal’s in­dus­tries. Or­ganic farm­ing is an­other area where we have in­vited in­vest­ments as there is high de­mand for our or­ganic pro­duce in Ben­gal and all across In­dia. With our pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment and in­tact cul­ture, we have also sought to max­i­mize our tourism ser­vices through in­vest­ments. There would be mu­tual ben­e­fits in tourism as many for­eign vis­i­tors to Bhutan in- vari­ably also make their jour­ney to In­dia start­ing from Beau­ti­ful Ben­gal. Our re­spec­tive mar­kets will be­come the desti­na­tion for each other’s goods and ser­vices,” he said.

“The good thing is that just like Ben­gal, though on a much smaller scale, Bhutan has an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment where ease of do­ing busi­ness is con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing. We have an ed­u­cated work­force. We also have a sta­ble political en­vi­ron­ment. Above all, we have a free trade agree­ment with In­dia to en­sure smooth com­merce.”

The Prime Min­is­ter con­cluded his state­ment by con­grat­u­lat­ing the Chief Min­is­ter for tak­ing the Ben­gal Busi­ness Sum­mit to big­ger and greater heights and wish­ing the Sum­mit suc­cess.

“Ge­og­ra­phy has made us neigh­bours and his­tory has made us in­sep­a­ra­ble friends. I’m con­fi­dent this story of Bhutan and Ben­gal re­in­forced by ever strong bonds of friend­ship, eco­nomic part­ner­ships and co­op­er­a­tion will en­dure for­ever.”

The del­e­ga­tion ar­rived in the cap­i­tal yes­ter­day.

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