NEW DELHI, July 5 - Singapore is likely to set up a skill development institute in Assam, while a high-level delegation is visiting Guwahati later this month.
The proposals were discussed at a meeting between Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and a delegation from Singapore on Tuesday evening. The Singapore delegation was led by senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, and Singapore�s High Commissioner to India, Lim Thuan Kuan, on the sidelines of Delhi Dialogue 9.
Talking to this newspaper today, the Chief Minister said that he held a very fruitful discussion with the Singapore delegation, who showed keen interest in working in Assam. Singapore is going to set up a skill development institute in Assam, Sonowal said.
A delegation led by Dr Osman is going to visit Assam on July 18-22 for identifying potential areas of cooperation in near future, Sonowal said.
The delegation also showed keen interest in food processing, as Singapore is interested in procuring fruits, Sonowal said.
In the meeting that lasted for about 30 minutes, Sonowal urged the Singapore senior minister for exploring opportunities of business and economic activities between Assam and Singapore.
Stating that different sectors like infrastructure development, tourism industry, oil and natural gas exploration, tea sector are some of the areas, where Assam and Singapore can join hands and reap economic benefits, Chief Minister Sonowal urged the Singapore senior minister to help in establishing Guwahati as an IT hub.
The Chief Minister also requested for opening a Singapore Consulate in the city which would be hugely beneficial for the people of the region seeking opportunities in Singapore.
Sonowal also urged the Singapore senior minister for starting direct flights between Guwahati and Singapore that would serve the travellers from north-eastern region to Singapore.
Dr Osman assured that assessment would be conducted for starting flights on this route by roping in private players and if found feasible, flights would be started from Guwahati to Singapore.
Stating that the State government has been giving importance to bamboo-based and food processing industries and a Mega Food Park would be set up in the State in which Singapore can also join and get benefitted, Sonowal said that the dredging the river Brahmaputra would open newer vistas of water navigation in the State that would usher in rapid development through cargo and ship movements.
Meanwhile, addressing the business and academic session of the Ninth Edition of Delhi Dialogue, Secretary (East) of Ministry of External Affairs, Preeti Saran, on Wednesday said that India and ASEAN were actively engaged in negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which is likely to be concluded by this year end. The negotiators will meet shortly in Hyderabad and thrash out issues such as those relating to telecom, health, transport and communications in a bid to tap the potential that exists in these sectors in India and ASEAN member nations.
Saran laid stress on cross-border trade and investment between India and ASEAN for which the Indian Government was making concerted efforts to make 106 of its rivers navigable, expediting the work on the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway project and was considering its extension to Cambodia. Secretary Saran said that India has put forward proposals for establishing high capacity fibre optic network to enhance digital connectivity. �The time is ripe to consider grid connectivity with Bangladesh and extend it to ASEAN nations,� she said.