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Our economy may be small, but it is sustainable - Bhutan PM

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on Sunday

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Gandhinagar, January 11, 2015 (ANI): Highlighting his country's economy, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on Sunday said Thimpu has used its limited resources wisely.

"Our economy may be small but we have used our limited resources wisely. Healthcare for example is completely free and so is education. All our children enjoy free education and not just free primary education but free secondary education and for those who work hard free college education," Tobgay said while speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit here.

"Our economy may be small, but it is green and it is sustainable. Our many fast flowing rivers are a source of clean renewable energy. Tourists who visit Bhutan experience firsthand, the exclusivity what we call high value-low end tourism, low volume tourism," he added.

Tobgay also emphasized that his country has achieved remarkable success on the economic front.

"And as for agriculture, 95 percent of our farming is still natural or fully organic. Our economy is small but we have enjoyed some remarkable successes. One, we have achieved economic growth but without destroying our pristine environment, 72 percent of our country is under forest cover. More than half a country is protected as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and we have committed, we have pledged to be carbon neutral promised to be carbon neutral for all time to come," said Tobgay.

"Two, we have achieved social progress but without undermining our rich cultural and heritage. We are the last surviving Mahayana Buddhist state but truth be told our traditions are not just surviving. We are thriving. We are flourishing and three; we have achieved democracy without having to fight for it," he added.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan further said that he would go on a spiritual pilgrimage later this week.

"When I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, when we met I informed him that the majesties our King and Queen had recently visited Varanasi and Bodh Gaya on a pilgrimage. Their majesties had found the pilgrimage very satisfying and spiritually fulfilling. So, I had told Prime Minister that I wish to visit Varanasi and Bodh Gaya for pilgrimage but for us economic visit is equally important as spiritual visit," Tobgay said.

"I will go on my spiritual pilgrimage later this week, I will visit Varanasi and I will visit Bodh Gaya but I am here in Gujarat, the heartland of India's economy and I am delighted to be participating in this Vibrant Gujarat Summit," he added.

Tobgay further said the Vibrant Gujarat Summit is the world's largest platform for exchange of ideas, innovation and knowledge.

"What is discussed here by business leaders, by political leaders, by scholars, influences not just entire countries, their politics and their economies not just in South Asia but across the rest of the world," Tobgay said.

"This is how I see it. When Gujarat vibrates, its vibrations quickly spread through India to the rest of the world and that includes my country even though it is guarded by the mighty Himalayas," he added.

Tobgay also used the occasion to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting Bhutan.

"Much of what we have achieved had been possible because of the friendship and support of India, our very close friend and neighbour. I wish to thank Prime Minister Modi, the people of India for the steadfast support for your steadfast friendship and your continuing support," he said.

"I have introduced my country to you because I wish to invite you to Bhutan, I want to tempt you to visit my country so that you can breathe fresh air, so that you can see clear skies, so that you can taste sparkling water, so that you can meet our friendly people, so that you can enjoy our unique culture so that you can experience gross national happiness," he added.


 

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