GUWAHATI, May 9 � Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam today said his country wants to strengthen business presence in the North East with hospitality and tourism as the major potential areas of cooperation, reports PTI.
�Assam and the North East are generally not identified as business destinations but the fact is that beneath the surface, the region is one of potential,� Shanmugam, who is on a day-long trip said here while addressing local industry leaders and senior government officials.
�It is heartening to know that the security situation is improving in the region. The region is exciting from the point of view of the hospitality sector and we believe there is opportunity for Singapore business houses to tap the potential of hospitality in the North East,� he said.
Singapore, one of the founding members of the 10-nation ASEAN grouping, is also looking at the North Eastern states as bridge between it and India.
�We think Assam and the North East has potential beyond investment destinations. There is also the issue of connectivity,� he said. �There are plans within the ASEAN to establish strong connectivity between north and south and I know that the Indian government also has plans to connect the North East to some of the ASEAN countries. These are plans which have to be taken further,� Shanmugam said.
He said another India-ASEAN car rally, on the lines of the one undertaken in 2004, is being planned.
�We are planning another car rally. This time it will start (from somewhere) in ASEAN and culminate in Guwahati,� the minister said.