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India Declares its Support to Bhutan in Establishing its Third International Internet Gateway

India has announced its assistance to Bhutan for the development of the third international internet gateway. As part of expanding the digital partnership between India and Bhutan, the Government of India is pleased to help the Royal Government of Bhutan with the establishment. According to the Embassy of India in Bhutan, the government will expedite a concessional rate to minimize the cost of the operation of the gateway. The gateway is expected to intensify redundancy, connect the remote areas of Bhutan, enhance the internet bandwidth, and lower the cost of internet connectivity to users, according to a press release from the Embassy of India in Bhutan.

India and Bhutan are collaborating on a number of technology initiatives. Under the flagship program of Bhutan, “Digital Drukyul’an optical fiber backbone, has been provided to the Gewog (village level) across all 20 districts of Bhutan. In addition, a peering arrangement has been established between the National Knowledge Network (NKN) of India and Druk Research and Education Research (DrukREN) for the beneficial effects of the users in Bhutan in the spheres of research and education, telemedicine services, as added by the release.

A contribution of Nu 1.98 billion (Rs. 198) crores will be made by the Government of India during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2018–2023) in order to support the digital transformation of Bhutan through several people-centric projects in education, trade, e-governance, and service delivery. Earlier, the Embassy of India organized a technology roundtable with the leading technology experts and innovators in Bhutan. They discussed ways to expand India-Bhutan cooperation in the field of digital technology.

The Ambassador of India, Sudhakar Dalela made emphasis the fact that India is committed to further strengthening its close ties of cooperation and friendship with Bhutan across all sectors, including in the domain of technology, and keeping in mind the priorities of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Participants at the roundtable comprised representatives from the Royal Society for STEM, the Royal Government of Bhutan, the De-suung Skilling Programme, the GovtTech Agency, Druk Gyalpo’s Institute, Thimphu TechPark Ltd., several civil society organizations, and many private sector tech companies in Bhutan, according to the press release. The participants of the roundtable shared useful suggestions for deepening the bilateral ties between India and Bhutan in fields such as enhanced engagement at the industry level, development of ICT infrastructure and skilling, cross-border digital connectivity and digital payments and STEM education opportunities.