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Gelephu Project UPSC NOTE

 India - Bhutan relation

  • India and Bhutan share a close and unique bilateral relationship.

  • Often referred to as a "special relationship". 

Historical Foundation:

  • Longstanding ties: The foundation for the strong relationship was laid with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in 1949, which was further strengthened in 2007.

  • Strategic Partnership: Bhutan relies on India for its security and defense, while India benefits from Bhutan's role in maintaining stability in the region.

Key Aspects of the Relationship:

  • Security Cooperation: India provides military training and equipment to Bhutan, and they closely collaborate on border security matters.

  • Economic Ties: India is Bhutan's largest trading partner, accounting for a significant portion of Bhutan's imports and exports

  • India also offers substantial financial assistance for Bhutan's development projects, particularly in hydropower generation.

  • Cultural and People-to-People Links: There's a strong cultural exchange between the two countries, with deep-rooted religious and spiritual connections

  • Regular high-level visits between leaders further solidify the relationship.

Benefits for Both Countries:

  • Bhutan gains economic support, security assistance, and access to essential goods and services.

  • India benefits from a strategic partner in the Himalayas, ensuring regional stability and promoting its economic interests.

Gelephu Project

  • The Gelephu project is an ambitious plan to develop a new mega-city on the southern border of Bhutan, near the town of Gelephu. 

  • It's envisioned as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) that would be governed under a separate set of laws to attract foreign investment.

Key Objectives

  • Economic Hub: The project aims to transform Gelephu into a major economic and social hub, creating a dynamic economic corridor connecting South Asia with Southeast Asia via India's northeastern states.

  • Sustainability and Mindfulness: The city is planned to be a model of sustainability, incorporating eco-friendly practices and adhering to Bhutan's philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) principles.

  • Youth Employment: The project aims to address youth out-migration from Bhutan by creating job opportunities and attracting skilled professionals.

Project Highlights

  • Special Administrative Region (SAR): The Gelephu project would operate under a different set of laws from the rest of Bhutan, making it more business-friendly and attractive to foreign investors.

  • Zero-Emission Industries: The city is designed to house eco-friendly industries that minimize environmental impact.

  • Mindfulness City: The project incorporates the concept of mindfulness, a core principle in Bhutanese culture, to create a holistic and well-being focused city.

  • Infrastructure Development: Plans include building Bhutan's second international airport capable of handling larger aircrafts, a new railway line connecting Gelephu to Kokrajhar in Assam, India, and enhanced road connectivity for regional trade.

Current Status

  • The Gelephu project is still in the early stages of development. 

  • The Bhutanese government is currently seeking international investment and partnerships to bring this ambitious vision to life.

Potential Impact

  • If successful, the Gelephu project has the potential to significantly transform Bhutan's economy and infrastructure

  • It could create new jobs, boost trade, and position Bhutan as a key player in the South Asian economic landscape. 

  • However, there are also concerns about the project's environmental impact and the potential for social and cultural disruption in Bhutan



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Gelephu Project UPSC NOTE
Gelephu Project UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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