| Nalinee Taveesin, permanent representative in Thailand Prime Minister’s office, in Imphal on Tuesday. Telegraph picture |
Imphal, March 19: Thailand wants Manipur to play a major role in increasing bilateral trade and strategic relations between India and Thailand.
“Manipur has an important role to play as it is the gateway to India not only for Thailand but also for all South East Asian countries. A lot has to be developed in every area,” Nalinee Taveesin, permanent representative in the Thailand Prime Minister’s office, said at a dinner party here last night.
Senior officials of the state government, members of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the state’s businessmen attended the event.
A high-level delegation from Thailand, led by Taveesin, arrived here yesterday after visiting Meghalaya and Assam and left this afternoon. It visited the city’s main shopping complex, especially the women’s market, this morning. “We came here to find out what is happening and what things are available in Manipur. After meeting the chief minister and the governor, we have some idea about the state, particularly about the potential here. We will come back to obtain a deeper knowledge,” Taveesin said.
She emphasised the need to create a friendly, bilateral trade atmosphere with support of the state government and the Centre.
In a meeting with chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, the delegates discussed issues like air and road connectivity, investment opportunities. Taveesin said more low-cost airlines would connect Thailand and the Northeast in the near future in addition to direct flights between Guwahati and Bangkok. She said Thai people would love to come to Manipur as Manipuris are quite similar to the Thais.
“For India, Manipur is the gateway to the Look East policy and for the South Asian countries, Manipur is the gateway for the Look West policy,” M.K. Saharia, chairman of the North East Regional Council of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, said.
O. Nabakishore Singh, principal secretary, commerce and industries, urged Thailand to improve the condition of the road connecting Moreh in Manipur to Measot in Thailand via Myanmar. He also emphasised the need for an easier visa regime.
Sumit Mazumdar, senior vice president of ICC, said the Indo-Thailand economic engagement had high prospects in sectors like pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, food processing, automobiles, chemicals and allied industries, tourism and hydro-power.