SHILLONG, March 16: "North East India is being seen as an ‘important’ and ‘attractive market’ to investors and would be soon linked with other Asian countries through the trilateral-highway-projects between India, Thailand and Myanmar for strengthening better trade relationship,” announced Thailand Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s office, Dr Nalinee Taveesin on Saturday here even as she stressed on the importance of good and well – networked roads and their roles in enhancing trade and commerce.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Integrating BIMSTEC’ organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Ministry of External Affair, Government of India held at Pinewood Hotel in the city here, Taveesin who is also a Thailand Trade Representative of the Government of Thailand said the trilateral-highway-projects will enhance physical connectivity and provide opportunity for Thai construction firms to pursue joint venture with Indian partners in transportation system improvement as well as air transport, telecommunication and IT logistic services.
“This artery going through Myanmar will not only link the North East India to the Thai market but will also open the way to other Asian countries,” she asserted.
She also expressed excitement over the active participation of North East India in this regard. “I would like to say on behalf of my government how glad we are to see North East India taking an active role in strengthening the Indian Myanmar and Thailand trilateral cooperation,” she said.
Dr Taveesin was of the view that such investments will lead the three countries to be a key component in the success of their investment plan adding “without a well plan and well built artery of roads our investment goals cannot be fully realized.”
With the possibilities of trade with the Asian economic communities coming to force in 2015, she stressed “our three countries stand again as we leverage upon one another strength. It is for this reason that connectivity is at the core of Thailand development policy.”
With more and more member of the Thai based community seeing NE as an important and attractive market, she said, “The investment in this area has increased significantly and would soon grow exponentially.”
Informing that over the past fifteen years, bilateral trade between India and Thailand has grown substantially to a margin of $8.6 million in 2012, Dr Taveesin said, “With this upward trend looking so strong it is expected that we could be looking at ‘doubling’ this number by the year 2014.”
Presently, Thailand is ranked 36th largest investor in India with an FDI outflow to India about 95 million US dollar with most of these investment going into machinery, car sector, frozen food, livestock and construction.
She, however, informed that India so far has invested about 460 million US dollar in Thailand which is mostly in chemicals, papers plastics, metal products and inline industries such as automobiles and others.
The Minister further urged both Thailand and India to focus more specifically on the North East India which, according to her, has geographical area of only about 8 percent of India’s total land mass but is equal to about half the size of Thailand.
With such diversity and opportunity, it needs to be optimized through the development of agriculture, sustainable forestry, effective and safe mining project and tapping of energy resources as well managed tourism, she said adding “There is immense opportunity for India and Thailand investors to work closely together and to top it all there is also large scale work here in NE which am sure is seen as an asset with Thai investors looking for their oversees business network and production facilities.”
Stating that both Indian and Thai government share the same vision for prosperity through unity, the Minister asserted, “Our governments recognize that our shared history and heritage particularly the shared ethnicity of the people of NE India and Thai have already laid a foundation on which more and more stronger relationship can be build.”
She said whenever Thailand pursues the ‘Look West Policy’ and India which is having the NE region pursue the ‘Look East Policy’, both countries have also to think of Myanmar and how both the countries can help their common neighbor to develop to her full potential.
She opined that with working together, they can bring more socio and economic growth and stability through projects for the people of Myanmar.
Earlier, the Minister who also met the Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma in his chamber further assured that she would make sure that the Thai based community and investors are kept well informed and updated regarding the market potential and investment opportunities that the North East India has to offer and to promote greater understanding in trade between the two countries.