Anand Sharma, Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles, inaugurated the ‘India Show’ yesterday, organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the High Commission of India in Colombo.
Anand Sharma is leading a strong 205 Indian delegation represented by leading CEOs and senior business representatives of 108 companies to Colombo for the third India Show in Sri Lanka, to showcase a vast range of goods and services that India businessmen can offer to their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The 3-Day India Show exhibition will be held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo till 5 August 2012.
“Our bilateral trade is about five bn US $, which looks very impressive. But I feel it’s well below the potential. Sri Lanka is India’s largest trading partner in South Asia. We should not only sustain it. But give it depth and diversity,” Mr Sharma said during his address at the Inaugural Session of India Show held here today at the BMICH, Colombo.
He said India was looking at getting more involved in the manufacturing and value added services in Sri Lanka particularly for infrastructure related activities. Mr Sharma said that the Government of India would support Sri Lanka in setting up manufacturing investment zones in engineering and automotive sectors, with special focus on value added products and services. He also said that a pharmaceutical hub would be established in Sri Lanka to manufacture top quality drugs at affordable prices.
“I am sure the business leaders will build bridges of understanding and take forward this partnership so that people of this country, the people of India will benefit from it,” the Minister added.
This is the third India Show in Sri Lanka, after similar successive editions in 2003 and 2005. The current India Show is the largest ever of its kind with a participation of 108 companies showcasing a wide range of products and services, including automobile, engineering, infrastructure, tourism, food processing, ICT, financial services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and education.
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Rishad Bathiudeen said he hoped both countries will explore ways to tap foreign markets. “In this climate of global recession, we can hope for a joint outreach for global markets” he further added.
Sri Lanka’s Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation Mr Sarath Amunugama urged Indian businessmen to make use of Sri Lanka’s strategic location to do business with neighbouring countries and other regional blocks.
During the opening ceremony a Hand Book - Doing Business with Sri Lanka” was released by Minister Mr Anand Sharma and Minister Mr Rishad Bathiudeen.
Rajive Kaul, Past President, CII said both nations share long cultural ties spanning several decades. He said despite the current global economic difficulties, both countries should look to explore ways to foster economic growth.
In opening remarks Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said, “We would like to partner with Sri Lanka in reconstruction activities and take bilateral economic partnership to the next level”.
Earlier Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka welcomed the gathering and Mr R Seshasayee, Past President, CII proposed the vote of thanks.
Coinciding with the India Show, a Conference on “Doubling Indo-Lanka Bilateral Trade and Investment within Five Years” was organised by the CII and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.