Bhutan PM for strengthening bi-lateral trade with India

Praising India for its emergence as an economic super-power in the region, Bhutan Prime Minister Monday stressed upon the need to forge mutually beneficial partnerships to further promote and strengthen economic links between India and Bhutan.

"We are extremely keen to attract more investments from India and we have made FDI (foreign direct investment) regulations more conducive to Indian investors by permitting investment in Indian rupees and by allowing them for majority shareholding," said Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, prime minister of Bhutan while addressing the business meeting jointly organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

"Physical proximity to India, a liberal free trade agreement (FTA), closely integrated economies and excellent bilateral ties provide many opportunities for Indian investors to capitalise on Greenfield projects in Bhutan," said Tobgay. 

"Infrastructure development together with development of industrial estates, special economic zones, dry ports and towns based on public-private partnership model is another major area that holds trade growth potential between India-Bhutan," he added.

Earlier, while terming the close to USD 500 million bilateral-trade between India and Bhutan 'below potential', commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma said, "About 4/5th of imports into Bhutan are from India and we are engaged meaningfully in the energy sector but the enormous hydel potential of Bhutan to the tune of 33,000 mega watt (MW) of which about 1,400 MW has been harnessed and whatever more we do their in the sector that will actually change the numbers when it comes to trade with more power getting exported to India and connecting to our grids and that would bring in a very healthy economic partnership."

"Information technology (IT) & ITeS (information technology enabled services), manufacturing, engineering for infrastructure development, hydropower are certain areas where both India and Bhutan can further take the engagement for mutual benefit and shared prosperity of people," said the minister. 

"Investing in institutions, human resources, training of young people in various vocations in present ecosystem is another significant area as it is important to empower young people and make them employable and that is what India would like to do very closely with government of Bhutan."

"We are already doing but we can scale it up & do more," Sharma added.