Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh speaks at the business summit (Photo: Vietnamese Embassy in India)

New Delhi (VNA) – A business summit between India’s northeastern region and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) has taken place in Guwahati city of the Indian state of Assam, focusing on higher education and herbal health sector. 

The event on March 24-25 was held by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Services Export Promotion Council, and the International Chamber for Service Industry of India. It drew representatives of some ministries, sectors and universities in India, officials of eight northeastern states, CLMV diplomats, and businesspersons.

Ravi Kappor, vice secretary of Assam state’s administration, emphasised the role of India’s northeastern region, including Assam, in his country’s Act East policy.

He highlighted advantages of this region, such as a shorter travel time to Southeast Asia, including CLMV, by both road and air. He believed that the northeast of India and CLMV can cooperate in multiple aspects, especially aviation, tourism, manpower training, and health care.

Notably, the region is home to a number of universities providing courses in English, and therefore, they can be destinations for CLMV students, he said.

At the summit, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said aside from the close proximity, India’s northeast and CLMV share many cultural similarities. They are also prioritised by both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India. While ASEAN had programmes to narrow the development gap between CLMV and other member countries, India launched a big programme to develop the northeast.

India has also had activities to promote cooperation with CLMV such as a credit package of 1 billion USD for projects on digital connectivity with India and a project development fund to assist Indian investment in CLMV, Thanh said, considering them as favourable conditions.

However, to tap into the potential for tourism, education, IT and healthcare cooperation, both sides need to speed up road connectivity projects, encourage airlines to open direct flight routes, and increase promotion activities in the two regions, he added.-VNA