The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 25 , 2014
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Thailand bets big on trade via sea

Tharadol Thongruang in Calcutta on Monday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, March 24: Thailand hopes the strategic location of its Ranong port will not only boost trade with India but also give Indian exporters access to neighbouring Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China.

Located in the lower part of Thailand and on the eastern part of Andaman Sea, the Ranong port is close to Port Blair unlike Thailand’s other two major ports — at Bangkok and Laem Chabang.

“The port offers trade opportunity for Indian exporters not only with Thailand but also its neighbouring countries,” said Tharadol Thongruang, minister counsellor (commercial) of Royal Thai Embassy, India, on the sidelines of a session at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today.

He said the port, which was commissioned in 2003, could play a major role in boosting bilateral trade that stood at $9,085.78 million in 2012-13. He added that the sea-route would play a key role in the growth of trade at a time parts of Asian Highway 1 were under construction.

The highway links the Turkey-Bulgaria border in the west to Japan in the east. It passes though Iran, Afganisthan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and China.

Thongruang said a group of 15 business delegates from logistics and shipping sector, which visited Calcutta today to explore investment opportunities, would next visit Guwahati, Kohima and Imphal to study the potential of trade with the Northeast through land.

“Bengal could play a key role to facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries. The delegation is looking for discussing opportunities in doing business and marketing these regions, create business relationship with local businessmen and studying system of logistics and goods transportation,” Thongruang said.

Russia offer

As the US and Europe try to isolate Moscow over its action in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trusted lieutenant Igor Sechin today courted top Indian officials, offering to ship crude oil and stakes in oil and gas acreages.

Sechin, who heads Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil company, led a delegation of about two-dozen officials to meet oil secretary Saurabh Chandra seeking to expand ties with New Delhi.

Rosneft has offered Oil and Natural Gas Corporation a stake in nine offshore oil and gas blocks in the Barents Sea and one in the Black Sea.