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Govt has been trying to create stakes for businesses to flourish in North East: Dr Jitendera Singh

The benefits of RCEP would not be as expected without participation of India: Thai Ambassador

Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 12:31 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | New Delhi

Inaugurating the first India-ASEAN Business Summit organised by PHD Chamber in Delhi, Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State with Independent Charge of DoNER said that the effort of the government over the last five years has been to create stakes in North East region so that businesses can flourish in the region.  He said that while India as a whole has emerged as a business destination, North East has emerged as a new engine of growth and development. Dr Singh said that North East will play a major role in realising the ambitious target of 5 Trillion-dollar economy in the next 5 years.

The Minister said that the government has taken a number of out-of-the-box decisions to attract investments into the region over the last five years.  He said that these initiatives are in line with the government’s vision to establish closer collaboration with the ASEAN and build better linkages between India and ASEAN through North East.  

Talking especially about connectivity, the Minister said that connectivity to North East with other parts of India as well as neighbouring countries is constantly improving due to government measures.  Guwahati has an international airport which is as good as Delhi or Mumbai airport, a new airport has opened in Sikkim, work is progressing to upgrade Shillong airport into a full-fledged airport, new airports are soon set up in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, Bangladesh will soon be connected by Rail from Tripura border, and 11 inland waterways were made operational in Brahmaputra in the last couple of years, the Minister said rolling out the list of improvements in the connectivity front.

Delivering the keynote, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Thailand Ambassador to India said that irrespective of India’s decision not to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with ASEAN, the trade relationships between the ASEAN and India is much better when compared to what is happening in other parts of the world. The Ambassador said that Thailand as the current Chair of the ASEAN is working closely with India to “bridge the gaps” that exists in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  Without India, the benefits of the RCEP cannot be as big as it could be, the Ambassador said, and therefore the review will continue.  

o-Chairman, ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC) highlighted the need to improve connectivity between the North East of India and ASEAN to realise the tourism potential of the North East.  Guwahati has a good airport and more carriers need to connect ASEAN capitals. Air connectivity is quite important for tourism, he added. 

Participating in a panel discussion on Tourism at the Summit, Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip also stressed on the direct air connectivity factor to boost tourism.  He cited the example of the tourism numbers between India and ASEAN countries.  He specially mentioned how IndiGo’s direct connection from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to Phuket has made the difference.  30% of the travellers prefer to go to places with direct connectivity, Kalra said citing MMT’s own study.  
Earlier in his welcome note, Dr DK Aggarwal, President of PHDCCI noted that ASEAN combined together is a 2.8 trillion-dollar economy which is third largest in Asia and fifth in the world. In the same way, India is a strong economy based on powerful macro-economic fundamentals in the region. Working together can bring a lot of opportunities for businesses from both sides at a time the major global economies are experiencing slowdown because of trade wars. 

Around 60 foreign business delegates from the ASEAN countries are participating in the two-day summit.

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