India supports Bhutan for international internet gateway

India on Tuesday announced its help for the development of Bhutan's third international internet gateway.

According to the Embassy of India in Bhutan, the government will facilitate a concessional rate to reduce the cost of the gateway's operations. "As part of the expanding India-Bhutan digital partnership, the Government of India is pleased to support the Royal Government of Bhutan for the establishment of the third international internet gateway for Bhutan. In this regard, the Government of India will be facilitating a concessional rate to bring down the cost of operations of the gateway. The gateway is expected to reduce redundancy, connect remote pockets of Bhutan, increase internet bandwidth, and reduce the cost of internet connectivity for users," read a press release by the Indian Embassy in Thimphu.
India is collaborating with Bhutan on a number of technology initiatives. Under Bhutan's Flagship Program 'Digital Drukyul', an optical fibre backbone has been provided till the gewog (village) level across all 20 districts of Bhutan.

Additionally, a peering arrangement has been established between India's National Knowledge Network (NKN) and Bhutan's Druk Research and Education Network (DrukREN), for the benefit of users in Bhutan in the fields of telemedicine services, research and education, added the release.
India is collaborating with Bhutan on a number of technology initiatives including the third international internet gateway for Bhutan, harnessing space technology for societal benefits, 'Digital Drukyul', NKN-DrukREN education network, India-Bhutan e-Library project, cross-border fin-tech integration, mutual investments in the tech sector, and STEM education initiatives for Bhutanese youth.

The Government of India is contributing Nu 1.98 billion (Rs 198 crore) during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2018-2023) to support Bhutan's digital transformation through several people-centric projects in education, e-governance, trade, service delivery.

Earlier, the Indian Embassy organized a technology roundtable with leading innovators and technology experts in Bhutan for discussing ways to expand India-Bhutan cooperation in the sector of digital technology.
Indian Ambassador Sudhakar Dalela emphasized that India is committed to further strengthening its close ties of friendship and cooperation with Bhutan across all sectors, including in the technology domain, in keeping with the priorities of the people and Bhutan.

Participants at the roundtable included representatives from the Royal Society for STEM, De-suung Skilling Programme, the Royal Government of Bhutan, GovTech Agency, Thimphu TechPark Ltd, Druk Gyalpo's Institute, a number of civil society organizations, and various private sector tech companies in Bhutan, read the release.

Participants shared useful suggestions to deepen India-Bhutan collaboration in areas such as the development of ICT infrastructure and skilling, enhanced engagement at the industry level, STEM education opportunities, and cross-border digital connectivity and digital payments.


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