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Bhutan to develop new Special Administrative Region at Gelephu near Assam border

03:39 PM Dec 17, 2023 IST | NE NOW NEWS
UpdateAt: 03:39 PM Dec 17, 2023 IST
bhutan to develop new special administrative region at gelephu near assam border
Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck addressing the nation on National Day on Sunday.

Guwahati: In a groundbreaking move, the Bhutanese government announced plans to establish a Special Administrative Region (SAP) at Gelephu in the Sarpang district, bordering Assam, India.

This ambitious project, spanning around 1,000 square kilometers from Taraythang Gewog to Singye Gewog in the Himalayan foothills, aims to transform Gelephu into a thriving economic hub not only for Bhutan but also for the wider South Asian region.

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His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, while outlining the vision for the SAP in his National Day address, acknowledged the inspiration drawn from Bhutanese living abroad in propelling the country towards unprecedented socio-economic development.

This dedication underlines the government's commitment to harnessing the potential of its global diaspora.

Further strengthening ties with India, the announcement coincides with the ongoing construction of a 57.5-kilometer railway line connecting Kokrajhar in Assam with Gelephu.

This Rs 10 billion project, discussed between King Wangchuck and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former's recent visit to Delhi, marks a historic first for rail connectivity between the two nations.

Recognizing the crucial role of seamless trade in fostering economic growth, plans are underway to upgrade the existing Land Customs station at Dadgiri in Assam to an Integrated Check Post.

This, coupled with infrastructure improvements on the Bhutanese side at Gelephu, will pave the way for a more efficient and streamlined cross-border trade environment.

Emphasizing the project's wider significance, King Wangchuck highlighted the potential of the Gelephu-Assam corridor in connecting "around 2 billion people in South Asia."

This vision underlines the region's collective potential for growth and collaboration, marking a new era of awakening and opportunities.

King Wangchuck's recent visit to Assam further underscores the commitment to strengthening Bhutan-India ties.

His meetings with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and visits to prominent cultural sites like Kamakhya Temple and Kaziranga National Park showcase the multifaceted dimensions of this growing partnership.