Pointing out that India evoked interest even during economic crisis, President Pratibha Patil on Saturday asserted that the country’s strong domestic market, upwardly mobile middle-class population, along with healthy growth rates indicated its growing economic clout.
Inaugurating the 29th edition of India International Trade Fair (IITF) 2009, Ms. Patil said two decades ago, India began the process of economic reforms that resulted in higher growth rate, technological upgradation, increased foreign investment and larger trade volumes.
“It integrated the economy with that of the rest of the world. This brought in its train, many opportunities and some challenges. India emerged as a favoured destination for foreign companies, corporations and businesses. Our commitment to continue to engage with the world remains and we will look at ways in which we can enhance our trade and economic ties with other countries.”
Admitting that the meltdown had impacted the country, the President said the impact was far less severe in India.
The economy demonstrated its resilience by maintaining a growth rate of more than 6.5 per cent even in the face of that crisis. “Signs of recovery are evident as our economy changes gear,” she said.
Ms. Patil said the IITF had come to occupy an important position in the calendar of trade events. “Over 7,000 exhibitors, including a large number of foreign participants and more than 2.5 million visitors are likely to visit the fair this year, making it the largest trade fair in this part of the world. Products, services and technologies exhibited here are a reliable indicators of India’s progress and capabilities in the agricultural, industrial, technological and services sectors.”
Expressing satisfaction that the country had sent unmanned spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 to the moon, she said: “We hope to send a manned spacecraft to the moon in the near future. The future belongs to inventions, innovations and enterprise. We must be prepared to move in that direction and to make India a store house of knowledge and expertise.”
In her extempore speech, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said it was a matter of great pride for Delhi to be chosen as a partner State in this year’s trade fair. “Our endeavour is to make Delhi a world class city. We’re facing some challenges but are determined to make Delhi the most sought-after State. The IITF showcases what our country is capable of doing. Lakhs of people from across the nook and cranny of the country come to visit the fair.”
Among others who spoke on the occasion were Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.