Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal is currently in Bhutan as the head of a High Level Business Delegation in connection with the Bhutan – India Start-Up Summit 2020.
India and Bhutan share a special and time-tested partnership, anchored in mutual understanding and respect and reinforced by a shared cultural heritage and strong people to people links. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State Visit to Bhutan in August 2019 provided fresh momentum to further deepen and diversify the partnership into mutually beneficial areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Shri Piyush Goyal today called on His Majesty The King of Bhutan in Thimphu, aside from a call-on the Prime Minister of Bhutan and a meeting with the Minister of Economic Affairs of Bhutan. The high-level business delegation from India led by Shri Vikram Kirloskar, President, CII & including Shri Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman CII; Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, DG CII; and Shri Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of OYO, among others, joined the Minister during the calls-on/meetings to chart new pathways for the India Bhutan economic partnership.
The following concrete deliverables emerged as a consequence of the meetings: Based on the request of Bhutan, the Railway Board has commissioned a survey to establish the Mujnai (India) – Nyoenpaling (Bhutan) line that will provide a cross border rail link between India and Bhutan.
A team from Indian Railways is visiting Bhutan tomorrow to hold discussions with the State Mining Corporation of Bhutan on finalizing a MOU for export of Railway ballast from Bhutan to India.
The CII has announced that it will mentor 30 Bhutanese start-ups in Indian incubation centers with a view to growing the entrepreneurial culture in Bhutan. They will also open their first South Asia Office in Bhutan shortly.
The two sides also discussed designation and notification of new transit customs stations at Jogighopa, Pandu and Agartala. Further, agreement on making the Land Customs Station at Nagarkatta as a permanent customs station was also discussed.
The Minister also announced concrete outcomes for bilateral engagement in areas of training and capacity building: Government of India will be fully sponsoring training of 100 Bhutanese trainers and youth on Entrepreneurship at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
In light of the requirement of capacity building in Packaging and Branding, 30 Bhutanese entrepreneurs and start-ups will undergo hands-on training at the Indian Institute of Packaging, Delhi sponsored by the Government of India.
India will commission a feasibility study for setting up an Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Bhutan. This is in line with the priorities of the Royal Government of Bhutan and also resonates with their CSI Policy 2019.
The Programme on Saturday 29th February for this first of its kind Start-Up Summit in Bhutan, will include an Inaugural Session and five break-away sessions: New India; Startup Ecosystem – The Indian experience; Fostering Entrepreneurship in Information Technology and other emerging technologies; Investment opportunities in Bhutan; and Way Forward. Prominent business personalities, think tanks and academics will ideate, debate and collaborate on the identified themes during the sessions, with an objective to forge stronger future business engagement across all sectors, scales and spectrum of the Indo-Bhutan economic partnership. Shri Piyush Goyal will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the Summit, and also inaugurate an exhibition of 30 Start- Ups from India and Bhutan together with the Prime Minister of Bhutan. This will be followed by an Interactive Round Table meeting, featuring top captains of Bhutanese and Indian industry chaired by the Minister.