Ready to open consular office in Chennai: Italy envoy
CHENNAI: A United Nations Industrial Development Organisation programme drawing resources from Italy to offer assistance on industrial cluster development to India will be implemented in the next half of this year.
Announcing this here on Saturday, Italian ambassador Antonio Armellini said apart from funding the programme, Italy, through the U.N. agency, would be sharing its expertise in developing small and medium enterprises and experience pertaining to the clusters.
For UNIDO, it would be the next phase of its cooperation with India. Under the programme, details of which including the locations were being discussed, it would provide technical assistance for developing the clusters, he told presspersons ahead of a luncheon meeting with senior executives of Indo-Italian joint ventures.
Highlighting the growing economic ties between the two countries, Dr. Armellini said while infrastructure and agro-food were two areas in which Italy could offer its expertise, information technology was one field in which India could invest in Italy. Simultaneously, there was a need to continue concentrating on traditional sectors on which the foundations of the ties rest such as leather, machine tools, chemicals and gems and jewellery. Cooperation in the new areas was necessary to achieve a quantum jump in the economic ties.
On tourism, he said there was tremendous potential for Indian investment in Italy in areas related to tourism, particularly in the backdrop of a 500 per cent increase in the tourist arrivals from India over the last few years.
However, the lack of good budget hotels and three-star hotels was preventing more Italian tourists coming.
Responding to the demand for a consular office in Chennai, particularly to make it easy for those seeking visas, at the luncheon meeting, he said: "We are prepared to set up one."
But the insistence of India that only an Indian national should head the office came in the way. But the Italian embassy "will try to simplify the process [of visas] as much as possible."
Stating that a decision on granting more long-term visas had been taken, the Ambassador said a fast track arrangement for the visas could be made for select companies.