New York, Sept. 8: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may have discreetly decided to stay away from US President George W. Bush during this annual season of summits in the Big Apple, but it is not preventing his government from going into overdrive to woo America.
India is employing a pioneering new strategy in this courtship of the US: it is offering the Northeast to Americans for investment and tourism.
The chief ministers of Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur will all be in New York on the same platform on September 26 to court America.
Taking part in the same initiative will be the deputy chief minister of Meghalaya, the industry ministers of Assam, Nagaland and Sikkim and the information and technology ministers of Meghalaya and Assam.
In a sense, if any collective decision-making on the Northeast has to be done by the Indian government during that week, it will be done in New York.
The secretary of the DoNER ministry, the chief secretaries of Nagaland and Meghalaya, the urban development secretary of Manipur, the agriculture production commissioner of Nagaland and the power secretary of Arunachal Pradesh will all be in New York to lend support to their ministers.
The chief guest at this North-east India Investment Conference here will be the man who controls the pursestrings for development of the region: Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
On the corporate side, the effort will be anointed by Sunil Bharti Mittal, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which has put together the event.
Conspicuously absent from this regionwide initiative is Tripura, which is ruled by the CPM.
Americans are not wasting any time speculating on why no one — neither a civil servant nor a bureaucrat — from Tripura is taking part in this programme.
The northeastern initiative to woo America is part of a four-day spectacular event that will be held in New York from September 23 to 26 under the glamorous title of Incredible [email protected]
The event will kick off with minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi acting as Master of Ceremonies at a mini-Pravasi Bhartiya Divas at New York’s spectacular location, Chelsea Piers, built on four historic piers on the Hudson waterfront.
Ravi conceived the idea of taking Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, held in India in January every year, to locations abroad as a vehicle for building bridges with Indian communities abroad with the help of the CII.