Bhutan’s opening move, its Gelephu gambit

La Excellence IAS Academy

Bhutan’s opening move, its Gelephu gambit

Current Affairs Daily Editorials

La Excellence IAS Academy | March 15, 2024 | International Relations

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India and its neighborhood, Issue: Regional economic hub at Gelephu (Bhutan)

Context: Bhutan is planning to build “Gelephu Mindfulness City” (GMC) near Assam border.

Key feature of GMC:

  • Operate as a special administrative zone with investor-friendly laws.
  • Aims to be a carbon-neutral city, hosting non-polluting industries.
  • Resembles planned cities like Neom in Saudi Arabia and Nusantara in Indonesia.


  • For India-, Strategic location aligns with India’s “Act East” plans and India-Japan connectivity initiatives.
  • Complements India’s broader regional connectivity plans.
  • Address Bhutan’s challenges -need to diversify from hydropower and tourism, youth outmigration and geopolitical concerns, including pressure from China.


  • Tough terrain and geographical challenge.
  • Insurgencies in Assam, other northeastern States and in Myanmar.
  • Landlocked character and dependence on other countries
  • Represents a significant investment with uncertain immediate returns.


  • In an increasingly polarized global setting, India must strengthen ties with its South Asian neighbors.
  • Exploring new avenues for cooperation could benefit regional stability and development.
  • Gelephu project offers an opportunity for regional transformation with India’s assistance.

Source: The Hindu

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