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Eric Shackle Writes: Bhutan Enters 21st Century

"Bhutan, a tiny landlocked kingdom perched high in the Himalayas, between India and China, will take a giant step into the 21st century on November 1, with the official inauguration of its first IT (Information Technology) park,'' writes veteran journalist Eric Shackle.

An impressive three-storey building constructed in the traditional Bhutanese style but with 21st century technology, Thimphu TechPark has been built by Thimphu Techpark Pvt Ltd, a joint venture of Druk Holdings and Investments and Assetz, a property development firm with headquarters in India and Singapore.

It's similar to Singapore, where the government provides liberal economic laws and ancillary features (water, sewerage, electricity and fibre connectivity) to attract foreign companies to operate within its borders.

Assetz employed an Australian, Ian Shackle, formerly from Mudgee, New South Wales, to oversee construction of the park. (Disclosure: I'm his father). I asked him about plans for the official opening in an email. to which he replied:

"We have guests coming from 103 countries, heads of state from several, the Prime Minister and five other Ministers from Bhutan. Even Bill Gates is invited. And our officiating VIP is the King's mother."

This will be the second important milestone in Bhutan's recent history. The first was on October 13, when King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, married 21-year-old Jetsun Perma

The ceremony was broadcast live in a country where television and the Internet did not exist until 1999.


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