Taken first firm step against Sikkim's isolation: External Affairs Ministry on G20 events
Two G20 events - the Business B20 and Startup 20 were held at Sikkim.

Gangtok: Sikkim was fortunate to have two G20 events in Sikkim – the Business B20 and Startup 20 – which the other northeastern States were denied, with only one event in each of the other seven northeastern states.

On being asked about the special focus given to Sikkim, Ministry of External Affairs representative Joint Secretary Ashish Sinha asserted, “The big step towards countering isolation is that two big events of G20 are taking place in Sikkim. We have already taken the first major firm step in the direction of fighting Sikkim’s isolation and remoteness considering globalisation. You have people from across nationalities coming to Sikkim for the two events. This is being very keenly observed and watched, and the feedback is going to the authorities about the potential, possibilities and also challenges. The attention is there, and gradually, things will move in a positive direction.”

Over 15 countries participated in the Startup 20, and over 22 nations participated at the Business B20 with high hopes and aspirations. The delegates visited the historic Rumtek Monastery, the seat of Karmapa of the Kagyud sect of Buddhism, opposite the Gangtok hills.

Sinha highlighted the ‘travel restrictions on people coming to Sikkim and the connectivity issues’. He shared, “We are mindful of the situation and we are committed to taking Sikkim along with the rest of the Nation. But the ability to host such a big event has already happened. Sikkim should open to incubation and all possibilities plugging in from outside. The discussions have happened on tourism, organic farming and a lot of other things.”

On restrictions on cross-border trade with China from Nathula pass on the Indo-China border since the COVID-19 pandemic, the External Affairs Joint Secretary answered, “COVID has disrupted cross-border trade however the recovery is uneven and the issue is definitely on our charts. With Nepal, the border trade is happening, and there is no obstacle to it. Soon it (Indo-China trade) will be resumed as all other activities have resumed.”

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Speaking on the G20 presidency coming to India and Sikkim being a host state to two events, Sinha shared, “Startup 20 has been started during India’s presidency of G20 which was difficult to convince all countries. There is a reluctance to allow something new to come up. It is getting the best response from all delegates and international and Indian start-up groups. The belief is that India has strength in this field (startup), they need policy facilitation, and startup is not routine but disruptions. We are not looking for incremental growth but a quantum leap. We are seen as a serious, economy-growing country. Each Indian with an idea should be given all support. In the International ecosystem, India is producing exportable goods in India.”

On startup comparisons between Sikkim and any other state in India, Sinha shared, “Startups are going in sectors which were not thought about before, the startup is not defined. A startup from Gurgaon and Startup from Gangtok they don’t need to compare or competed with each other.”

Also Read | Aspirational population in Sikkim keen on innovation: CM at Startup 20

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