Prime Minister addresses the Bengal Global Business Summit ‘16
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.