Market advice from UK envoy

British high commissioner lauds region
Guwahati, March 5 : British high commissioner to India, Richard Stagg, has asked the northeastern states to adopt a strategy of self-promotion through aggressive marketing for sustainable development in the region.
“The security environment is not as acute as it was a few years back and the region should instead concentrate on selling itself,” Stagg said at an interactive session on “UK and Northeast India — Sustainable Development through Trade and Investment”, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here today.
Stagg, who is on his maiden visit to the Northeast, said there are places in Nigeria where the working conditions are extremely difficult and by that standard, the region is far better off.
The British diplomat, who met Assam Governor S.C. Mathur and other senior officials of the state government yesterday, said the region has clear challenges.
He said one of the challenges is the distance from the capital of the country apart from challenges in regard to human resources.
Besides, he said India’s ties with neighbouring countries like China, Bangladesh and Myanmar had a bearing on the region because of its proximity with these nations.
“The arrival of Sheikh Hasina has brought some hope,” he said, in regard to India’s relations with Bangladesh.
Stagg said though the region has a lot of potential, the relative advantages, which it has, should be defined.
On the rich water resources of the Brahmaputra, the diplomat said effective harnessing of the river was a challenge.
“We could work on looking towards a solution to develop the Brahmaputra as a major waterway,” Stagg said.
To a query on supporting the cemeteries of the British tea planters in the region, he said the question is one of resources and that help could be taken from an organisation called the British Association of Cemeteries in South Asia.
“Tea garden owners could also help in this regard,” Stagg said.