A three-day North East-Asean Business Summit took place in Imphal on April 9, 2016. This summit focused on the entire North East with major emphasis on Manipur. This state is being seen as the main trade point between India and South East Asian countries. Manipur acts as a key strategic location for trade between Bangladesh and other ASEAN countries. Keeping that in in mind the need for a MoU to be signed between Manipur Chamber of Commerce and Bangladesh was greatly stressed upon. The attendees at the summit included ambassadors of Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed, 140 Indian delegates, and representatives from ASEAN. It was organized jointly by Indian Chamber of Commerce, Manipur commerce and industries department and Institute of Company Secretaries of India.The main objective of this summit was to promote the growth of India’s North Eastern region by attracting foreign as well as Indian investors. The generation of more employment opportunities for the youth through the expansion of business was a major goal. During the summit, Mr. Tofail highlighted the long history of close relations between Bangladesh and India’s North Eastern states and said that this summit holds great importance for his country. He stated that signing of memorandum of understanding with Manipur to boost trade and commerce is of utmost importance. He also extended an invitation to ManipurChief Minister Mr. OkramIbobi Singh to visit Bangladesh with a trade delegation.
Mr. Govindas Konthoujam, the Minister for Commerce and Industries for the state of Manipur stated that Manipur is receivinga lot of spotlight after the ‘Look East Policy’ has been initiated by the Government of India. He went on to say that Manipur’s strategic location makes it a very important factor for the success of this policy. Manipur’s huge potential in areas such as floricultures, organic farming, aromatic plants, and medicinal plants can be harnessed and it can also serve as a major trade route for conducting business with other Asian countries. Mr. Konthoujam also said that Manipur can learn a lot from Bangladesh in the field of textile and garment industries and increase its trade potential even further. The summitalso featured a technical session on the topic “Development through Infrastructure and Connectivity in NE-ASEAN: Trade and Commerce and Tourism”.