Southeast Asian countries want to do business in northeast India

September 17th, 2008 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Mani Shankar AiyarGuwahati, Sep 17 (IANS) Investors from three southeast Asian countries - Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia - and Czech Republic have evinced keen interest in doing business with the northeast India.Diplomats, investors and delegates from 12 countries took part in the two-day Northeast Business Summit, held in Assam capital Guwahati Sep 15-16.

The desperate attempt by the industrially starved region to attract investment has started bearing some initial fruit as these countries have expressed their interest to venture into the resourceful northeast market.

“Thailand was interested in construction and human resource while investors from Vietnam showed their readiness in agri-business and Cambodia was interested to support tourism sector,” Minister for Development of Northeastern Region Mani Shankar Aiyar said.

Guwahati summit, fourth of its kind to showcase the potential of the northeastern region and to attract domestic and foreign investors, was jointly organised by the ministry for development of northeastern region and the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The previous summits were held in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari inaugurated the event Monday.

“I would take a business delegation next month to visit Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam to explore possibilities to invest in mini hydel power project, food processing industries, aviation infrastructure and financial market,” said Hynek Kmonicek, ambassador of Czech Republic in India.

“Most industrialists are investing in Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh and other big states in India, but we find that vast business scope is available in the northeast India,” he told reporters Tuesday night on the sidelines of the summit.

The main thrust of Czech Republic is the mini-hydel projects as the country has a century-old expertise to handle these small viable projects.

Thailand delegation headed by its Ambassador Chirasak Thanesant has shown the country’s interest in developing human resource for their service industry.

“The air travel time to Bangkok from Guwahati is less than that of New Delhi and Assam capital and that is why the government is pushing hard with the ‘Look East policy’ in order to open the region for improvement,” said Aiyar, who is also the chairman of the Northeastern Council.

“We want to do business and it will be from both sides,” said Anuom Muttaraid, chairman, committee of Indian affairs board of trade, Thailand.

Several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were signed Tuesday to set up joint venture projects and exchange technical expertise. Besides, 247 expressions of interests (EoI) were received from 64 Indian and foreign companies, almost double the number of EOIs received in the last summit in New Delhi

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