New Delhi, Nov.12 : With the global economic crisis culminating from the west and in the backdrop of India's look east policy, BIMSTEC is excepted to perform better, claimed Yogendra Kumar, Additional Secretary (MER) Ministry of External Affairs.
Addressing the BIMSTEC Business Summit 2008, "Strengthening The Economic Partnership" jointly organized by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), here today, he said: "A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) amongst India and BIMSTEC region is in the pipeline. As per the agreement thirteen priority sectors have been identified for mutual cooperation amongst the region, which are energy, agriculture, transportation and communication, trade investment, technology, tourism, public health, combating terror, people to people contact amongst others. In order to generate maximum benefit out of it for the nation, the chambers of commerce have a critical and significant role to play."
Nagesh Kumar, Director General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), said, "BIMSTEC come across as a grouping of immense potential. The region presents a major avenue for joint promotion of tourist circuit. Most of the countries have cultural links and share Buddhist monuments. Asian Buddhist Heritage Packages combining all the important Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan amongst the BIMSTEC members could be highly attractive."
Urging on the need to work towards upgradation of trade ties and stronger economic bonds, Ravi Wig, Senior Member and Chairman, ASSOCHAM Expert Committee on SAARC, said, "as the region is very strongly bonded with cultural ties, India can be an ideal platform and hospitality provider for increased integration between the BIMSTEC and rising economies. This can take a qualitative lead and generate greater political understanding amongst the region, potentially doubling the volumes of trade."
O P Lohia, Senior Committee Member FICCI and Managing Director Indo Rama Synthetics (I) Ltd. said, 'towards its endeavor to engineer prosperity in the region, India has setup a BIMSTEC energy centre. Such mutually cooperative measures are helpful in minimizing the threats related to economic slowdown. Reforming lack in communication and transportation infrastructure should be the key area for the region."
Curbing the tendencies of nations for holding natural resources, Sanjay Singh, Senior Member, CII and Vice President Tata Services Ltd. added,' we should attempt to bring together resources, which have been segregated in the political domain and exhibit a free trade framework."
He further added, "In order to grapple with the crisis, we should adopt the regional cooperation models followed by Latin America, European Union, and borders of Canada - USA. India can lead with its expertise in the fields of environment and disaster mitigation."