How B20 Events in India’s North East is Opening Door of Opportunities for Bhutan

The third B20 event was concluded in Sikkim last week at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok. The topic for this B20 meeting was ‘opportunities for multilateral business partnership in tourism, hospitality, pharmaceuticals and organic farming’.

The inaugural session was attended by Sikkim’s Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay, along with Rupa Dutta, Principal Economic Advisor of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. Representatives from NITI Aayog, the External Affairs Ministry, the G20 Secretariat, and CII North East Council were also present at the session. The delegates and representatives from other G20 countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, Greece, Australia etc were also there.

In his speech at the B20 meeting, CM During his speech at the B20 meeting, CM Golay spoke about the concept of “globalisation of locals as against localisation of globals.” He said that the globalization process has been one-sided so far, with a focus on localizing globals, and that Sikkim aims to reverse this trend.

Sikkim CM Golay urged delegates from both B20 and G20 to support and invest in making Sikkim a green agroecological destination for the world. He emphasized the need for green technology that can help increase productivity and yield in Sikkim’s limited farmlands that are owned by small and marginal farmers.

Sikkim has a range of indigenous seeds and plants, and CM Golay stressed the need to build capacity among new-generation farmers and train them on newer methods of organic farming. He called for the establishment of interdisciplinary institutions that deal with training, research, experimentation, productivity enhancement, processing, marketing, and other areas to promote organic culture. Since Bhutan shares a border with Sikkim, it is expected that the Himalayan country which is also rich in Flora, might massively benefit from this move.

Later he talked about Sikkim’s tourism potential, highlighting that the state receives around 1.5 million tourist arrivals annually. He shared Sikkim’s long-term objectives of gradually shifting a major segment of its tourism to high-value tourism, just like Bhutan did.

In his speech, he also spoke about the potential for investment in climate change-related activities such as green energy, small and mini-hydro projects, zero-carbon ventures, disaster forecasting and management, and climate change-resistant agriculture.

“Some of our farmers have already adapted to the climate changes by just using their traditional wisdom and their orthodox practices. They do not know the science and complexities of climate change impact. We are yet to build institutions to understand, deal and propagate the knowledge to the global world,” the CM said.

The Business 20 or B20 is a group that represents the private sector within the Group of 20 (G20) Forum. It was created to provide a platform for the business community to engage with the G20 and to offer recommendations on policies that can support global economic growth and development. The B20 programmes aim to showcase the potential of the Northeast region and what it has for global and local investors, as well as highlight opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in industry sectors where the North-eastern states have core strengths.

This was the third B20 event. The first B-20 conference took place in February. The second one was held in Aizawl in Mizoram from March 1 to 3. And the fourth conference will be in Kohima in Nagaland from April 4 to 6.

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