Address by H.E. Harsh Vardhan Shringla,...
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Address by H.E. Harsh VardhanShringla, Ambassador of India to Thailand
at 'Make in India' Roadshow - 16th November 2015

H.E Dr. AchakaSriboonruang, Minister of Industry of Thailand
H.E Mr. SuvitMaesincee, Deputy Minister of Commerce
H.E Mr. Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India;
H. E Mr.NoppadonTheppitak, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dignitaries from the Government of Thailand
Visiting business delegation from India
Business leaders from India and Thailand

I begin by expressing our appreciation to the Government of Thailand, in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for partnering with the Embassy of India in hosting this event on economic ties between India and Thailand. An integral part of this event is an informative Roadshow on the 'Make in India' programme. The objective of the roadshow is to inform the business community in Thailand of economic opportunities in India under the 'Make in India' initiative of the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi.

I want to thank the Hon'ble Minister of Industry H.E. Ms. Achaka for very kindly agreeing to my request to address us this morning at short notice. I also thank the Hon'ble Deputy Minister of Commerce and the DPS of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for gracing this occasion.

I wish to welcome H.E. Mr. Amitabh Kant, who as Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, is the flag bearer of the 'Make in India' and other economic initiatives of the Government of India. I also welcome the 30-member high level accompanying business delegation from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce& Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, Associated Chambers of Commerce of India and the Indian Chamber of Commerce. I acknowledge the support of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of trade for the vital role played in bringing Thai and Indian CEOs together.

I am always happy to highlight the close and friendly relations between India and the Kingdom of Thailand. Our longstanding relations draw its strength from shared values of linguistic, social, cultural and spiritual interaction. The timeless message of Lord Buddha and the common lore of the Ramayana reminds us of the historical connect between the two countries and constitute the foundation for our strong contemporary relations.

We have achieved progress in key areas of cooperation such as trade & commerce, security, defence, science & technology and education. We have sustained high level bilateral exchanges between our two countries in recent times which have provided the necessary impetus to this expanding relationship.

India and Thailand have strong economic synergies. The diversifying profile of growing bilateral trade and investment reflects the growth and maturity of our two economies. Both countries concluded an operational Early Harvest Scheme from 2004, covering 83 lines, under the bilateral Free Trade agreement. Since then, bilateral trade has expanded by more than 4 times touching $ 9 billion in 2014-15. The conclusion of a comprehensive FTA, currently in an advanced stage of negotiations, is expected to significantly boost our trade and investment ties.

There are, at present, over forty Indian companies with investments in Thailand contributing to the Thai economy. Some of them are represented here today. Similarly, we have around 30 Thai companies operating in India. It is heartening to note that some of these companies are planning to significantly scale up their operations in India. We are encouraged by the potential for an additional $3 billion in investments by Thai companies in green and brown field projects in India in the near future.

Another area of significance is connectivity. The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway reaching Mae Sot in Thailand will expand land connectivity through North East India to South East Asia. Plans for the development of deep-sea ports and new SEZs in Dawei in Myanmar and Pak Bara in southern Thailand will connect the eastern seaboard of India with Thailand and beyond. The development of East-West and North-South corridors by Thailand and the linking of these transport related projects are expected to further enhance connectivity and expand trade and commerce with India. We are very receptive to the proposal to constitute a Joint Working Group on Strategic Connectivity. We recently had the first meeting of our Joint Task Force on Maritime Cooperation in New Delhi, which emphasized the importance of strategic connectivity on the maritime front.

I would emphasiseto our Thai friends that this is a most favourable time for any commercial enterprise considering India for investment or business. In the last one year, under the decisive leadership of Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, the Indian economy grew by 7.5%, the highest recorded by any major economy, following proactive and innovative business-friendly policies like 'Make in India. The Government's effort to, in the words of the PM, "replace red tape with red carpet" has paid rich dividends with an over 40% increase in the inflow of foreign investments into India in the last year.

In this context, we are privileged to have Mr. Amitabh Kant with us today. He wears more than one hat and is credited with many awards for his achievements. The "Incredible India" campaign is one example - a masterstroke in international branding, which made India a leading tourism destination. Incidentally, tourism is another bilateral success story. Over a million Indian tourists visit Thailand every year, and over 100,000 Thai tourists visit India every year. Mr. Amitabh Kant is also Chairman of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC). As you see from the slides, he is the man behind the 'Make in India' campaign,responsible for the formulation and implementation of industrial policy, strategies for industrial development and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy.

I will conclude by saying that India and Thailand stand to mutually gain from our bilateral trade relations, particularly in these difficult times for economic growth across the globe. Please be assured that you will have the fullest support of the Embassy of India in your efforts towards strengthening yourrespective business engagements. I also hope that the presence of a sizeable Indian business delegation will lead to productive B2B meetings and new collaborations. I wish you a very useful'Make in India' experience.

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