Arunachal and Bhutan agree to work towards boosting tourism through mutual cooperation

   Feb 19, 10:01 pm

Itanagar, Feb 19 (ANI): In a historic step to strengthen bilateral ties between Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, a delegation from Bhutan headed by Chairman Dupthop today agreed to work towards enhancing tourist inflow through mutual cooperation.

Arunachal Pradesh, which shares longest international border in India, has 160 km with its friendly neighbour Bhutan, according to an official here.

The five-member Poverty Reduction Committee of Bhutan's National Assembly, led by its chairman Dupthop, had an extensive discussion with Chief Minister Nabam Tuki in presence of MP Takam Sanjoy, Tourism Minister Pema Khandu, Tourism Parliamentary Secretary Passang D Sona and officials of planning and tourism departments here Saturday.

Both the delegations accepted the importance of extending cooperation and evolve strategies to utilize huge tourism potential of the Himalayan Kingdom and Arunachal Pradesh to the optimum.

Welcoming the delegation, Tuki pointed that Bhutan and Arunachal having several cultural and topographical similarities and it would be mutually beneficial if both work together and help each other to boost tourism for eventually generating gainful employment and thus reduce poverty.

Highlighting few areas where the GoAP was actively working like road construction and chopper services, Tuki said as Bhutan was a next-door neighbor, collaboration in these aspects from the other side would be mutually beneficial.

Disclosing that the ongoing Tawang-Bhutan road is progressing at a rapid pace, the Chief Minister sought reciprocation from the Bhutanese Government.

"Once this road is complete to connect the towns of Bhutan with Tawang, we could work on border trade, which would accrue huge economic benefits to both sides," Tuki pointed.

The CM also urged construction of operational helipads in Bhutan and helicopter services introduced between Tawang and Bhutan to boost tourist flow to both sides.

Sanjoy, on the other hand, stressed on focusing on religious tourism as both sides were religiously akin. He suggested creating a religious tourist circuit all the way from Ladakh to Arunachal including Nepal and Bhutan.

Khandu and Sona expressed willingness to work with the Bhutanese Govt to convert tourism as one of the major revenue earning sectors.

Meanwhile, Sona informed about the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Association (IBFA) and asserted that its presence should also be felt in Arunachal. Through IBFA, he said, Arunachal could reap rich benefits while contributing its bit to Bhutan's development.

Consenting to the views and suggestion of the CM's team, Dupthop reciprocated, saying a Bhutan- Arunachal tourist circuit, once materializes, would go a long way in promoting the sector as the neighbours were having religious affinity to each other.

Dupthop, however, informed that it was up to the executive of the democratic set-up of Bhutan to take the final decision. He, however, assured to place the matter before the executive and impress upon it to take it up with the GoI.

"As the matter is a bilateral issue, our Government will have to process it through the Government of India. Hope.... Delhi listens to us!" Dupthop added. (ANI)

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