China does not regard India as a threat and neither intends to pose a threat, said Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the Peoples’ Republic of China in Kolkata, while releasing the invest report, Sustainable Investment Possibilities: A Comparison of Five Indian States, in Kolkata on 9 June.
He said China is committed to take her partnership and cooperation with India to a new level despite recent lows in the relations, including India’s absence from OBOR summit in May.
Mr. Zhanwu said China hopes to work together with India on projects where both the countries have win-win situation. He pointed out that India is one of the major economies in terms of growth. He also said that people of India are receptive to foreign investment and they are also friendly to Chinese companies. Mr. Zhanwu said that there is no big ticket investment in eastern India and it is here (eastern India) that bigger as well as flagship projects are to be expected in the coming years.
Mr. Zhanwu urged the government to have more pro-business attitude and to promote good policies in favour of business. An understanding between China and eastern India will have a positive impact on China-India relations as a whole, he said.
The investment report focuses on five contiguous States in the eastern India — Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. It identifies key policy and reform initiatives needed at the State level and also the challenges that still remain in the implementation of business reforms in boosting competitiveness and export potential.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yin Hao of Donfang Electric (DEC) said that creating a win-win business mechanism is the way forward for intensifying bilateral economic cooperation between China and India.
Citing the case of DEC’s operations in South Africa where a win-win situation was made possible through collaborative efforts, Yin Hao stressed that there is a need for complementing friendly bilateral relations and economic cooperation between China and India. He pointed out that despite some hindrances DEC faced in starting their business in India, they are hopeful of continuing manufacturing in India.
Mr. Ashok Dhar, Director of ORF Kolkata said that eastern India is a natural hinterland for investment by the Chinese provinces. China is looking for mega investments abroad. Mr. Dhar identified three clusters for opportunities of investment leveraging the combined size and scale of market opportunity to justify bankable projects. The first is the Bihar and Bengal, the second is Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and the third is the Northeastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
Mr. Mahesh Saharia, the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia, highlighted the historical connection between the five eastern States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal with China. Saharia said that these five States covers almost one fourth of the total population of India. However, these States are the lowest in per capita income. India’s growth rate can be developed only if the Northeast develops. These five states collectively are gateways to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Southeast Asia. The BCIM is no longer an informal block; it has huge potential in terms of the population it will cover. Bangladesh is drawing lot of investment opportunities from China. India’s FDI policy is also open and provides huge opportunity for China to invest in India. Eastern India with its access to the western part of China also attracts Chinese investors to invest.
Preeti Kapuria, Associate Fellow, ORF Kolkata introduced the core structure of the report and also discussed the purpose, methodology and objective of the study. One of the conclusions of the report is that the service sector is burgeoning in these eastern States of India and immense opportunities prevail for the right type of investment to occur here. Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh, Senior Fellow, ORF, Kolkata proposed the vote of thanks.
This report was prepared by Jayati Chakraborty, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata.