North-east India tantalises corporates with infrastructure and investment opportunities

Governor of Assam, Jagdish Mukhi lighting a lamp at the opening ceremony of the North East Festival that took place between January 7-9 at Radisson Blu Hotel Guwahati

The Indian government has turned its focus towards the north-eastern states of the country, and is drawing up plans to further develop the infrastructure to draw investment, as well as corporate travellers to the area.

As part of its Act East policy, the Indian government has been heavily investing in the region’s infrastructure projects such as national highways, railway networks and telecommunication. Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi has also voiced his eagerness to connect the capitals of all the eight states by air by 2024.

Governor of Assam, Jagdish Mukhi lighting a lamp at the opening ceremony of the North East Festival that took place between January 7-9 at Radisson Blu Hotel Guwahati

Meanwhile, the Make in Northeast initiative is helping to attract investment from global companies, in sectors such as oil and gas; sectors that have recorded multi-million dollar investments from international markets like France and Germany.

Sarbendra Sarkar, founder and managing director of Cygnett Hotels and Resorts, told TTGmice: “Tourism infrastructure including highways and railway connectivity has been steadily improving in the region. In 2021, the government of India announced several projects worth billions of rupees to augment the tourism infrastructure in north-east.”

“Corporate presence has increased in the region, and economic activities have grown. All this is helping to bring more tourists to the north-eastern states while boosting corporate travel. I expect the north-east to emerge as a big corporate travel destination over the next few years,” added Sarkar. Cygnett Hotels and Resorts operates three properties in north-east India.

At present, tourism in the country’s north-east, to states such as Assam and Sakar, is primarily driven by the leisure and adventure tourism sectors.

The Indian government is also keen to explore trade ties between the north-east and neighbouring South-east Asia region, a market that remains untapped, and could significantly fuel international corporate travel.

In 2017-2018, the total trade between India and South-east Asia was US$81 billion, but the contribution of north-east states was almost negligible.

“Sectors like agriculture, textiles, IT and tourism provide immense investment opportunities to corporates looking at India’s north-east. We are working on the infrastructure that will help it become a trade hub for the South-east Asian region,” revealed G. Kishan Reddy, minister of tourism, culture and development of North Eastern Region of India to delegates at the North East Festival which took place in Guwahati from January 7-9, 2022.

As part of the ongoing infrastructure projects, the Asian Trilateral Highway that will connect India to Myanmar and Thailand is expected to be operational this year.

Meanwhile, Indian Railways was recently given the approval for the final location survey of the Imphal-Moreh railway line. The proposed 111km long railway line will help India to connect with Myanmar, further helping the country become a part of Trans-Asian railway network.

“The north-east states need to take advantage of their strategic location and develop the region as an expressway to South-east Asia. We have to continue improving our connectivity, logistics and infrastructure which will help to develop strong business ties with South-east Asia,” concluded Reddy.

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