Bengal is well poised to benefit from the growing trade with China with the volume expected to rise from $40 billion to $60 billion in 2010. But to make the best of the Centre’s “Look East Policy”, infrastructure on both sides of the Nathu-la needs to improve, he added. Trade through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim will turn Kolkata and the East into the new hub of the country’s trade and commerce. “Now that the Nathula border has been opened for trade, there is immense possibility to increase trade activities with China. We have set a target of $60 billion trade transaction with China by 2010,” he said.
Mukherjee added that West Bengal can play an important role in realising the country’s Look East policy. “A direct link between Mizoram and Myanmar could be set up. Kolkata could also be connected to Peshawar through GT Road”.
External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee stressed on the importance of agreements on civil nuclear cooperation to avoid isolation and possible sanctions. “We are trying open vistas of nuclear deals with France and Russia as well as with the US. Our goal is to increase the total capacity of power to 2,00,000 megawatts by 2020”. Increase in nuclear power will also ensure cleaner energy sources and reduction in green house gases, he added.
India may find itself isolated in the global community and may even have to face sanctions if the country does not go ahead with the civilian nuclear deal with the US, according to the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. Addressing the 176th Annual General Meeting of the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce here on Sunday, Mr. Mukherjee said India should not remain content with being just a part of the global community but must emerge as an important player in the global polity as well. For this to happen, it would be imperative to ensure food and energy security. “We cannot depend upon our coal reserves alone for our energy security. In view of environmental concerns, we must think of our future generations,” he said. He added that talks with those opposed to the nuclear deal would continue and “all problems on the energy front will be resolved”.
Finally, on behalf of the Chamber, Smt. Alka Bangur, Vice President presented the Memento to Hon’ble Union Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.
The 176th Annual General Meeting of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce concluded with a vote of thanks offered by the Senior Vice President, Mr. Sushil Kumar Agarwal.