As the sun dawned on the 116th National Day, Bhutan experienced a celebration like never before, marked by a fervour and enthusiasm that echoed the spirit of our nation. From the early hours, people gathered, eager to meet and listen to His Majesty The King’s address to the nation, a testament to the deep-seated Bhutanese identity and love for the country.

At the heart of this extraordinary occasion was the Gelephu Project, an ambitious initiative unfolding across a vast expanse of over a thousand kilometres in Gelephu, Sarpang, encompassing over 250,000 acres. This project heralds the establishment of a special administrative region, poised to become Bhutan’s new economic hub. The endeavour signifies not only the initiation of Bhutan’s economic prosperity but, more significantly, the commencement of a new era in our nation’s narrative—a fresh dream, a novel ambition.

Why embark on this journey? The answer lies in a colossal opportunity—the prospect of engaging with around two billion people in the South Asia region. In the evolving landscape of the region, where economic transformation is underway and has the potential to extend deep into Southeast Asia, Bhutan stands at the cusp of a defining moment. It is, as His Majesty the King said, “A period of awakening for South Asia, a period of growth, and a period of immense opportunities.” Seizing this opportune moment is not merely a strategic move; it is an investment in the future well-being of our nation.

In his address, His Majesty the King eloquently laid out the vision for Bhutan, emphasising that the path forward is clear: Bhutan cannot afford to remain a developing country. The national goal is unequivocal—to transform Bhutan into a developed nation. “Will we succeed? Yes, we will succeed,” said His Majesty with unwavering confidence.

To achieve this audacious vision, heightened energy generation, enhanced connectivity, and comprehensive national skilling are imperative. His Majesty the King succinctly outlined these imperatives as the prerequisites for the realisation of Bhutan’s ambitious goals.

Energy, the lifeblood of any thriving economy, is central to the Gelephu Project. The need for an intensified focus on energy generation underscores the significance of sustainable power sources that not only fuel our industries but also propel us toward self-reliance and resilience.

Connectivity is the lifeline that knits our communities together. His Majesty’s emphasis on enhanced connectivity is a strategic foresight that acknowledges the vital role transportation infrastructure plays in fostering economic growth. The Gelephu Project, as an economic nucleus, necessitates robust linkages to ensure the seamless movement of goods, services, and ideas.

National skilling, the third pillar, is centered on the premise that human capital is the most valuable asset in this journey toward progress. His Majesty’s call for a nation equipped with skills and knowledge aligns with the imperative of cultivating a workforce that not only adapts to change but also actively drives innovation and excellence.

This initiative, the Gelephu Project, is a call to action for all Bhutanese citizens. It beckons us to contribute to the shared dream of a prosperous Bhutan by leveraging the abundant opportunities that lie before us. Beyond a venture in concrete and steel, the Gelephu Project is a collective endeavour that calls for unity, resilience, and innovation.

Beyond economic initiative, the Gelephu Project symbolises Bhutan’s unwavering resolve to shape its destiny—a destiny rooted in prosperity, sustainability, and self-reliance. The 116th National Day was not just a celebration; it was a call to action, an invitation for every Bhutanese to contribute to the tapestry of our nation’s success.