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Assam’s future bright, says Powell

Guwahati, Dec. 13: US ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell today said Assam’s future was bright — not only as a key player in the Northeast but also in the broader region where countries of South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia all meet.

Powell is on her maiden visit to Assam after becoming ambassador to India this year.

She had a number of meetings here today where she met business leaders, inaugurated a business corner and met grant awardees. She also took a walk down memory lane and recalled her first visit to Guwahati, two decades back. “It has been 20 years since I last visited Guwahati, and I see that the city has undergone a sea change in all spheres. I could see the difference after I landed and travelled by road in Guwahati,” she said.

She inaugurated an American Business Corner (ABC) — the first of its kind in eastern India, which will showcase catalogues and business materials of US companies at the dedicated ABC space allocated by partner organisations.

The business corner is designed to assist US companies in promoting their brand and generating business leads from emerging metropolitan cities in the country.

The Indian Chamber of Commerce will house the business corner at its office here. “The Centre is a recognition of the growing India-US economic relations and Northeast will be a part of that,” she said.

The ABC opening is a collaborative effort of the US commercial service office at the US consulate in Calcutta and the headquarters of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, also in Calcutta.

The commercial service signed a memorandum of understanding with ICC to partner in establishing three American Business Corners at ICC offices in Assam, Bihar and Odisha.

At the Federation of Industry and Commerce of the Northeast Region (Finer) event, Powell spoke on the US interest in Indo-Pacific connectivity and regional co-operation with a particular focus on Assam and the Northeast.

“Assam’s future is bright, particularly as a keystone state not just in Northeast, but in the broader region, where the countries of South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia all meet,” she said at the Finer event. She also interacted with young leaders where she said that through old-fashioned channels, like business or study-abroad programmes or through new channels like Facebook and Skype, the young people of Guwahati can play a crucial role in building friendly bonds with counterparts in Yangon, Bangkok and Jakarta.

“I hope that you all, in your roles as business people and as young leaders, will seize this opportunity and take the initiative to turn this potential into a reality,” she added.

There was also an interactive session with questions ranging from education to business to regional co-operation and cultural exchanges.

In the morning, she met members of the Guwahati-based Foundation for Social Transformation, which had got an award of a US State Department Women’s Economic Opportunity grant.

The project targeting approximately 150 women across Assam, Nagaland and Manipur is aimed to impart intensive, tiered training, capacity-building programmes and seeding entrepreneurial efforts with the ultimate goal of improving these women’s economic condition.


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