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India-Bhutan Cooperation on Cyber Security

Staff Reporter

In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence, the Indian Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, the Government of Karnataka [Department of Electronics, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology] and the Ministry of Information and Communications, Royal Government of Bhutan organised a virtual workshop on Cyber Security.

Speaking at the event on August 18, the Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Niteen Subhash Yeola said that “This workshop is a useful platform for sharing knowledge in the area of cyber security with particular focus on tech startups. Our aim is to connect leading tech centres and startups of Karnataka(the premier IT hub of India) with counterparts in Bhutan”.

Mr. Karthik Rao Bappanad, Head of the K-Tech Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security, Karnataka (CySecK) presented an overview of the centre, on the importance of cyber-security, and ways to build cyber-security capacity in the government sector. Ms. Lakshmi Das, COO of Prophaze, a startup which helps its clients improve their web application cyber-security and reduce costs through AI automation.

The workshop provided the startups a platform to connect together for focused discussions. In the context of Bhutan’s emphasis on economic recovery, the workshop was in line with various up-skilling initiatives of the Royal Government such as the Skills Development Plan (SDP), Youth Engagement and Livelihood Program (YELP), and Build Bhutan, with its emphasis on knowledge-sharing among startups. It was agreed to explore opportunities for collaboration between the Government of Karnataka and the Royal Government of Bhutan in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Robotics.

About 150 entrepreneurs and officials from Bhutan participated at the event, including ICT functionaries from the RGoB Ministries, Dzongkhags (districts), Royal Bhutan Police, Thromdes (municipalities), banking & financial institutions, leading companies, etc.

The Embassy had earlier organized a virtual workshop on 13 April 2022 with women tech entrepreneurs from Karnataka and Bhutan. In recent years, the Government of India has been engaging with Bhutan to connect the startup ecosystems of the two countries. The Indian Embassy had organised the first Bhutan-India Startup Summit on February 28-29, 2020 in Thimphu, which was attended by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India Mr. Piyush Goyal, during which Bhutanese startups exchanged ideas and knowledge with top Indian industry representatives. Flowing from the successful Startup Summit, there have been a number of collaborative initiatives including capacity building programmes for Bhutanese entrepreneurs.

India is collaborating with Bhutan on a number of data and technology initiatives including Bhutan’s Flagship Program ‘Digital Drukyul’ and the National Knowledge Network NKN-DrukRen Connect Initiative. India remains a steadfast development partner of Bhutan across all sectors including such new and emerging areas of startups and technology.

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