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About Gelephu Smart City Project


Recently, Bhutan’s King has announced plans to build a massive “international city” in an area of over 1,000 sq. km. on its border with Assam. This project is known as the Gelephu Project.


Facts for Prelims

Gelephu Smart City Project: Key Highlights

Economic Corridor and Connectivity:

  • Positioned as an economic corridor linking South Asia with Southeast Asia through India’s northeastern states.

Environmental Sustainability:

  • Emphasis on adhering to environmental standards and sustainability goals, with a focus on attracting quality investment from specially screened international companies.

Industry Focus:

  • Inclusion of “zero emission” industries and the development of a “mindfulness city,” capitalizing on Bhutan’s strengths in tourism and wellness.
  • Integration of infrastructure companies as part of the project.

Special Administrative Region:

  • Designation as a “Special Administrative Region” with distinct laws to facilitate increased international investment.

Significance for Bhutan and South Asia:

  • Project envisioned as a “point of inflection” and a transformative initiative for both Bhutan and the broader South Asian region.

India-Bhutan Railway Construction:

  • The Government of India commits to constructing the first India-Bhutan railway line to Gelephu.

Connectivity Beyond Borders:

  • The railway project includes connectivity with roadways and border trading points extending into Assam and West Bengal.
  • This connectivity aims to provide Bhutan access to Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore, enhancing regional trade and collaboration.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024