GUWAHATI, March 21 � British corporates with strong overseas presence could be keen to start operations in Assam and parts of the Northeast, but not before infrastructure in the region and connectivity to the rest of the world improves substantially.
This was the view of British Deputy High Commissioner (Eastern India), Sanjay Wadvani, following a tour of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday. �Companies would be keen to invest, but only when there exists a definite competitive advantage,� he remarked. He believed it was because of obvious locational advantages and good connectivity that British companies were running major operations in West, South and North India.
Education, tourism, waterways, renewables, and carbon trading are some areas where British companies have excellent credentials, and it is in these sectors that investments might occur either singly or through collaborative ventures in Assam.
He identified education and tourism as two potentially investment friendly areas for British companies, which already possess extensive experience of working in foreign countries.
�Institutional greening�, a relatively new, but fast emerging area of business, could be another area where British companies could enter the region, as there is a market to be tapped. Indian companies could be partners to work in the area, which was gaining more attention in the backdrop of global warming and climate change.
The senior diplomat, who in the recent past played a key role in taking British investors to parts of China, said that Assam could be a good choice for companies willing to invest in India, but local entrepreneurs and the Government have well defined roles to play. �You simply cannot afford to wait for others to show an interest, a procative approach is essential to ensure that strengths of a region are identified and exposed to investors abroad,� he noted.
On security concerns regarding Assam, Wadvani discounted apprehensions, and said that the UK Government�s perception was that it was a safe place to travel to. The travel advisory issued from time to time does not describe it as unsafe destination, he added.
Asked to comment on the issue of mega dams being built on Arunachal Pradesh and its possible environmental impact, the Deputy High Commissioner was circumspect. The Northeast with rest of India need energy, and the dams would provide just that, but it is important that the issue of sustainability is not ignored. Sustainability issues are at the core of some UK policies, he mentioned.
Favouring long term engagements with Governments and entrepreneurs from the Northeast, he assured necessary support to those willing to build and expand business ties with UK.