The caravan of 21 cars participating in the India – Myanmar – Thailand friendship rally has passed through Mandalay —the former capital and cultural nerve centre of Myanmar and are now heading for the Thai border to a grand finish in Bangkok.
Mandalay hosted the first business seminar in Myanmar (conducted by Asian Development Bank) to meet with Myanmar’s ministers and government officials. The venue of the seminar was the spectacular Mandalay Hotel at the foot of the historical Mandalay Hill.
“We are rich in many natural resources like oil, gas, gem stones, copper and a host of other agricultural produce,” said U Myo Thit, minister of natural resources and environment conservation, Mandalay region government. “We welcome Indian business houses to come here and exploit these.”
There is, however, a problem. “The region is suffering from poor infrastructure and also unfortunately unrest in some places,” said Nandakumar Nagendran, consul general of India in Mandalay. “One way to address this is creating infrastructure for connectivity and business.”
While direct flight and road connectivity between India and Myanmar remains yet to be reestablished, Maung Maung, secretary general of Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce, identified the ‘hot sectors’ for doing business with the region. “Telecom, textile, real estate and agriculture are some of them,” he said.
The neglect faced by the Mandalay region does not go unnoticed even to a first time visitor. Other than roads built during the Second World War era and waterways connectivity, only small six to ten seater planes land in the Mandalay airfield. “Rail connectivity could change a lot of things here,” said Ratan Kumar Sengupta, another Indian origin businessman.
It was generally agreed that the friendship rally is a great success in bringing together the three nations.
Source: Soumik Dey