IMPHAL, November 22, 2017 : Commerce and Industries Minister Shri Thongam Biswajit Singh today chaired the morning session of the second day of the North East Development Summit at City Convention Centre.

The session was attended by Vice Minister, Ministry of Info., Culture, Tourism, Lao DPR H.E. Savankhone Razmountry; Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, Shri Yutaka Kikuta, Joint Secretary; Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Joint Secretary Dr.Vandana Kumar; ASEAN-India Business Council Co-Chairman Dato’ Ramesh Kodammal; SBI Life Managing Director and CEO Shri Arijit Basu and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) Director and Chief Executive Dr. Rajat Kathuria

In his opening remark, Savankhone Razmountry appreciated the commitment and dedication of the government to bring development to the north-eastern region of India and connect the region with the South East Asian countries.

Yutaka Kikuta said the summit would be a catalyst for development of North Eastern region of India. The North East region of India is a place where Japan’s Free and Open Indo-pacific strategy and India’s Act East Policy converge, he said.

Japan has placed importance on cooperation in North East Region of India, he said adding that historically, Japan has close ties with the region.

Yutaka Kikuta said the total number of Japanese companies in India reached 1305.

If we consider Japan’s business opportunity in NE region of India, Japanese citizens are already familiar with certain things of the regions, he said citing that Assam is already famous for its tea exports and that City of Imphal is well known for the Battle of Imphal during the WW-II occurs in many textbooks in Japan.

As of last year, of the 4,590 Japanese establishments in India, 64 are located in NE India, he added.

Yutaka Kikuta also stressed on certain issues which hinder investment from Japanese companies and said limited physical infrastructure of this region is one.

Another concern of the Japanese companies as well as the government of Japan is security situation, he said and added in some places, people are still struggling with the political and violent conflicts. Safety is the first priority and basic requirement when Japanese companies consider business and investment.

The region can expect many Japanese companies once they have successfully faced the challenges for the region is abundant in talented human capital and natural resources. Japan is happy to discuss with relevant authorities to find solutions.

He further continued that to expand trade and investments, it is also important to expand culture and people and people exchanges.

During his visit to India in September this year, PM Shinzō Abe the government of India and Japan concluded a memorandum on cooperation to establish the Japan-India Act East Forum, to promote cooperation on the development of the NE region. Japan wishes to enhance its cooperation in the region through this forum.

Dr Vandana Kumar complemented the State government for organising the summit and said the presence of delegates from various foreign countries including Lao, Malaysia, Japan, etc is testimony to the fact that this is a region of huge potential.

She further expressed the need to create a conducive business environment for the industry to flourish here.

The region, she said, has a huge potential be it in in organic farming, horticulture based industries, food processing industry, tourism, mineral based industries, and that the government of India will accord full support. This summit is a harbinger of good times to come.

Dato’ Ramesh Kodammal said ASEAN-India Business Council focuses on relationship between ASEAN and India and was formed by governments of ASEAN and India to see that there is a smooth implementation of trade policies.

Highlighting India’s close to 1.2 billion population and 650 million of ASEAN countries, he said this is a huge market which means that the region has a huge opportunity to take advantage of once we link the region to the market.

This is an opportunity knocking on our door and we take advantage of it, he said.

ASEAN and India can work on different areas, and the focuses should be on areas of health care, tourism, education, connectivity and moving forward, he said.

He further recommended the organising of a NE India Development Summit to market the North East to the world. He said the NE Summit should be conducted every year on a rotating basis, in every State.

Kodammal also said that without connectivity of business, businesses will not grow, he said.

Arijit Basu said connectivity is very important for business, but any growth in industry would also require the ability to market and ability to ensure that raw material move from one place to another for which road and rail connectivity will be crucial linkages

Dr. Rajat Kathuria said trade for peace is a great idea.

He said however, the North East has not integrated much either with itself or with the rest of the country or the rest of the world. Further observing that the North East’s share in India’s trade with the ASEAN is about 1 percent, he stressed that it is very low.

In his closing remarks, Minister Biswajit said the government will note down all the points highlighted by the speakers and will consider the highlights and recommendations with all seriousness.

The Minister also expressed that the State government will be happy to partner investors and industrialists for the growth and development of Manipur and assured the full and complete support to all concern. (DIPR)

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