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Remarks by Consul General Ma Zhanwu on Launching Investment Report
(ORF Kolkata Chapter, 9 June 2017)
2017/06/09

(Check Against Delivery)

Respected Mr. Ashok Dhar, Director of ORF Kolkata Chapter,

Respected Mr. Mahesh Saharia, Honorary Consul of Indonesia,

Respected Mr. Yin Hao, Deputy General Manager of Dongfang Electric India Private Ltd (DEIPL),

Respected Scholars from ORF and representatives from business chambers here in Kolkata,

Respected friends from Chinese companies and from the Indian and Chinese media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we are gathered here to release a report completed by the ORF Kolkata Chapter team in cooperation with the Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata, called the Sustainable Investment Possibilities: A Comparison of the Five Eastern Indian States.

1. An excellent report

First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to the ORF Kolkata Chapter team for their professional dedication which has resulted in the excellent report that will be released shortly.

The report covers the five states in Eastern India, namely West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, and gives an outline of their advantages, such as the large populations, abundant natural and human resources, good connectivity with rest of the country and the nearby countries. It also sums up the respective policies for attracting investment, and the potentials in various sectors and industries, as well as the areas for further improvement. It was completed with clarity, brevity, focus and excellence.

So I wish to congratulate Mr. Dhar and his ORF project team, which includes Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh, Dr. Preeti Kapuria and so on.

2. How it got started

About a year ago, I was having a discussion with Director Dhar and we both felt that we should encourage more economic exchanges between China and Eastern India. And because of the insufficient understanding of the situation here by Chinese investors, we felt it would be a good idea to have a report on the comparative strengths of the various states in India, and the above five states were chosen because they fall within the consular district of my Consulate.

3. The right time to have it

The report will further contribute to growth of economic ties between China and India, as it will add to the 4 major favorable elements already in place:

First, China's intention to invest 750 trillion U.S. dollars abroad and to import 8 trillion U.S. dollars of goods and services from other countries and regions in the coming 5 years will lead to more transactions between Chinese businesses and those in Eastern India. It is my belief that more Chinese will come to Eastern India to invest and do business in the months and years to come. Actually, it is already happening. Now the biggest amount of Chinese investment in Eastern India is 3 crore U.S. Dollars. Before this, it was 2.5 crore for many years.

Second, As Eastern India is covered by BCIM Economic Corridor, which is an initiative supported by the govrenments of all the four countries, the connectivity and relevant exchanges and cooperation will further expand in the years to come, and China will give continued support to development of BCIM and work closely with friends from the Eastern States.

As you may know, BCIM is also one important project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). I wish to clarify that BRI has been proposed to combine the various development plans and strategies to achieve the synergy, the one-plus-one-is-bigger-than-two effect. It is not aimed at superseding or nullifying any existing project or plan. As many major countries in the world have endorsed BRI, we would like to work with India on projects or plans like BCIM to increase our mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve win-win results.

Third, the governments of all the five states as well as the Central Government of India are stepping up efforts to achieve greater development, and the conditions for doing business will continue to improve, and these five states will be more attractive to foreign investors in the months and years to come.

Fourth, the people of various walks of life in the five states are more supportive foreign investment and increased international cooperation. Foreign investors hopefully will be able to make more money here in Eastern India.

4. Factors that will further enhance the economic ties

The report is supposed to be one of many efforts to increase exchanges and cooperation between China and Eastern India. Chinese business people who wish to have economic dealings with their counterparts in Eastern India are urged to read it carefully. Meanwhile, it is hoped that the following could also be possible:

No. 1 is to create success stories with joint efforts. The examples of foreign investors allowed to succeed and make money will be powerful catalyst for foreign investment, as businesses are above all profit-seekers, not born philanthropists. If they see others succeed in Eastern India, they will surely be encouraged to come. This would require efforts by the businessmen or -women themselves, as well as the society and the governments. (The report that a Thai feed company decided to shut down its factory due to employment issues and theft of its machines would not be encouraging.)

No. 2 is more pro-business attitude and policies by the governments. As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at the Bengal Global Business Summit in January 2016, the government would be the employee for the businesses, and she would be a servant for them. With demonstration of such sincerity in the daily work of the government offices, it would be extremely helpful for ease of doing business here in Eastern India.

No. 3 is increased understanding between the Chinese and Indian people. There should be more tourists, more visits, and more films like Dangal. The mass media also has a vital role to play to contribute to the friendly sentiments.

There has been some comments about China threat. China sees India as a partner for win-win cooperation, and has no intention to threaten India. It will continue to deal with the differences in a peaceful manner, as is one of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, or Panchsheel, proposed in 1950's by China and India together.

Although there are indeed differences between China and India, yet the shared interests far outweigh the differences. As long as both the two sides press ahead with development of the bilateral ties, and deal with the differences properly and bring them under control, the relationship will see much greater progress.

No. 4 is contribution by each and every one of us. Growth of China-India relations is not the work of giants only. Rather, it depends on the goodwill and action of everyone. As we say in Chinese, many drops of water make an ocean. And you have a similar saying in Hindi: Boond bond se saagar banta hay!

So if all of us can get involved and work together, we will bring about a new age of economic interactions between China and Eastern India, create a more vibrant bilateral relationship between our two great nations and make it one of the best and most important relationships in the world!

Thank you!

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