TAMIL NADU

Jayalalithaa invites Malaysian investment in infrastructure

CHENNAI Dec. 4. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, has called for strengthening of trade ties between Tamil Nadu and Malaysia. In particular, she has invited Malaysian investments in infrastructure development including the manufacturing, information technology-enabled services, automotive, textile, garments, leather and tourism sectors.

Emphasising the importance of trade and economic ties between Tamil Nadu and Malaysia, Ms. Jayalalithaa said her intention was to integrate the State with the global economy. ``Tamil Nadu, placed strategically on Asia's growth axis with a coast of more than 1,000 km, is certainly India's Asian gateway. My vision is to establish Tamil Nadu as the `numero uno' State in India and may I invite you to participate in this exciting journey,'' she said in a recorded message screened on the occasion of `Tamil Nadu Day at the `Incredible India - 2003' event organised in Kuala Lumpur today by the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation.

Pointing out that the trade between India and Malaysia had reached $ 2.2 billion in 2002-03, she explained what Tamil Nadu had to offer in further progress of the trade ties. Tamil Nadu had tremendous potential for achieving an eight per cent economic growth rate, especially in the manufacturing and tertiary sectors. There were good opportunities for contract manufacturing and assembly in Chennai in the auto sector.

Reiterating that the State had emerged as the country's second biggest software exporter, she said the sector could complement Malaysia's hardware manufacturing capabilities. Members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations could outsource their operations to quality service providers in Tamil Nadu. ``Let us look at South-South cooperation as a mutually beneficial win-win formula,'' Ms. Jayalalithaa said. She suggested that Malaysian investors could take advantage of India's largest pool of skilled employees. The huge network of engineering colleges ensured the supply of skilled personnel.

Connectivity was guaranteed because Chennai was the landing point for the i2i submarine cable from Singapore with an 8.4 terrabit per second bandwidth.

Praising Malaysia's achievements in infrastructure development which transformed the south-east Asian country - of which centres such as Putra Jaya, Cyber Jaya and highways were symbols - she said, ``I have no hesitation in saying that I want this replicated in Tamil Nadu''. She invited investments in road, water supply and urban infrastructure, port and other projects.

Pointing out how she was impressed with the way Malaysia had positioned itself as a tourist destination, she said this experience could be shared to build Tamil Nadu's tourism sector. A large number of Malaysian tourists visited Tamil Nadu because of ethnic ties. ``We wish to go beyond this and make Tamil Nadu a natural choice for all tourists from Malaysia,'' Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

``We have had Ministers and State-level delegations from Malaysia visit Tamil Nadu and I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with them. This has reinforced my belief that we must press forward to strengthen ties ... Our (Tamil Nadu's ) prominent participation in this fair is a clear recognition of the immense possibilities of fruitful economic cooperation,'' the Chief Minister said.

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