Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thailand seeks road, rail links with NE

Surajit khaund
 GUWAHATI, Sept 16 – Deputy Permanent Secretary of Thailand Government Norachit Sinhaseni has favoured road and railway links with the North East India to improve the bilateral trade. Talking to this correspondent here today, Sinhaseni said that a railway link connecting Thailand-Myanmar and the North East India would definitely boost the volume of trade in three countries. “If we want to increase our present volume of trade, we must develop road and transportation linkages,” he said. 

Asked whether the Thai Government would put forward any project for the railway link, the senior official under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “We are ready for any fruitful project. Trans-Asian Highway project is already underway and we can undertake similar kind of railway projects with active support from the Indian Government.”

Sinhaseni has come to Guwahati to participate in the 4th North East Business Summit. In this context, he said that Thailand is also keen to explore avenues in agro-based industry in the North East. “Agro-based products are available in the region and therefore we are in favour of initiating joint venture projects with the traders of the North East,” he informed.

Providing more information on his future plan, Sinhaseni revealed that Thailand is also interested in investing in infrastructure and telecom sectors in the region. “This region is a high-potential area. Moreover, we have close historic ties with the North East. So we are really looking forward to establishing investment links,” he observed.

On Indo-Thai trade, he said that the bilateral trade between the countries has been picking up gradually. “Last year we had a target of $4 billion, but we surpassed the target and the existing trade is likely to go up to 38% this year. We want to increase our trade with India,” he added.

Meanwhile, trade bodies of the State have welcomed the decision of the Thai official for showing keen interest in the region. RS Joshi, chairman of Federation of Industry of North Eastern Region (FINER) said that foreign investment in the North East is always a positive move. “We are making efforts to attract more investments into the region so that traders can extract the benefits,” he added. Industry and Trade Fair Association of Assam (ITFAA) also hailed the initiative taken by the Thai official, saying it would further boost the trade relations among the people of Thailand and the North East. 

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