Kolkata to Kunming Forum

The Kolkata to Kunming (K2K) Forum, that seeks to strengthen sub-regional economic cooperation between India and China, will deliberate on seven sectors for greater collaboration at its ninth session here Nov 21-22.

A 20-member delegation from China, with an additional 25-30 business representatives from Yunnan province, of which Kunming is capital, are scheduled to participate in the forum. A corresponding team of business representatives and various chambers are among the commercial bodies from India expected to participate.

Binoda Kumar Mishra, secretary general of the forum, told IANS that agriculture and food processing, non-conventional energy (solar), textile, leather, tea and jute products, travel and tourism and IT are the seven sectors identified for greater

exchange and collaboration between West Bengal and Yunnan.

Yunnan province, in southwest China, has a large natural resources base, several small, medium and big enterprises and a market of 6.5 million people. The province is being projected as a “window to South Asia” by the Chinese government because of its proximity to the region. There is a daily flight between Kolkata and Kunming.

A report will be launched at the forum meet showing economic complimentarities that exist between West Bengal and Yunan.

The forum meets every year alternatively in Kunming and in Kolkata. The forum will this time focus on business, academic exchanges and cultural ties.

The forum started as a civilian initiative in 2002 to promote India-China relationship through interactions at the sub-regional level. The purpose of the forum is to promote mutual understanding between India and China through increased interactions in the fields of economy, culture and academics.

“In the last eight meetings, various resolutions have been adopted expressing the desire of institutionalizing the forum but it has been our approach to keep it at the Track II level to protect it from India-China bilateral sensitivities,” Mishra said.

Regarding participation from Chinese companies, Mishra said he has got positive indications from Long Run Group , Tai Biao Energy, Solar energy, Yunnan Jucheng Energy Technology Company, Yunnan Construction Group, Hongta Group, Yuntianhua Group Co and Yunnan Baoyao Industry Co.

“This year they are also organising Indian and Chinese cultural shows,” Mishra said.

In 2010, K2K Forum, with active support from the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIAS), put up an exhibition of artworks by Chinese artists depicting their understanding of India and artworks by Indian artists depicting their understanding of Chinese society. It brought together paintings from Rabindranath Tagore’s time till date.

Mishra said the Yunnan provincial government had lent its support to the forum and participated in each of the meeting held in Yunnan. From last year, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) participated in the forum through Indian Consulate in Guangzhou and the public diplomacy division of the ministry funded the Forum.

Source: Business Standard