Top officials cut the ceremonial ribbon to launch the new
office in Bangkok.
The Northeast Indian state of Assam has made its biggest
step into the Southeast Asian market with the opening of an Industries and
Trade Fair Association of Assam office in Bangkok.
ITFAA celebrated the opening with Made in Northeast India
handicrafts show at the Fashion Island shopping mall at the end of March.
Thailand senior trade advisor Suthad Setboonsarng called
the occasion a red-letter day for bilateral relations with northeast India.
“The workmanship of the artisans coming from the land of
seven sisters is unbelievable. This show should become an annual event to
cement the socio-cultural trade relationship between both the regions,”
Madhukar Asnani, first commercial secretary at the Indian
embassy, praised the workmanship of the northeast’s artisans and urged
organizers to hold more exhibitions.
“It was a defining moment for rich handicraft industry of
northeast India as artisans from the region competed with some of the best
brands in the world at Fashion Island Shopping Mall, one of the best
shopping centers in Southeast Asia, and stood their ground. The exhibition
has definitely infused lots of confidence among the handicraft artisans of
the region,” informed Rajesh Das, ITFAA vice president.
Amen Deka from Barpeta district in Assam, who had
traveled abroad for the first time, could not control his emotions as he
sold his small bamboo replica of a motorcycle just 20 minutes after the
inauguration of the exhibition. “It took me six months to complete the
replica and today the almighty has rewarded me in Bangkok. It is not the
money but the appreciation of my skill and hard work in a foreign land,” he
An impressed Thai customer in a symbolic manner paid 100
baht over the list price while purchasing a Karbi shawl from the lone lady
participant Nichaswari Rabha.
People thronged the colorful stall of Khandu Wangchuk
from Sikkim, who was displaying exquisite Buddhist paintings. The visitors
apart from appreciating his art also enjoyed discoursing on Buddhism with
Tharadol Thongruang, who was earlier with the Thai
embassy in New Delhi and now promotes foreign trade in Thailand, was
euphoric about building the strong branding of northeast India in Thailand.
“The northeast has finally arrived in Thailand and Thai people are looking
towards Northeast for strong ties and the credit goes to ITFAA for their
The show, which attracted a large crowd on its first day,
was organized with the support of the Embassy of India in Thailand, the
Royal Thai Embassy New Delhi and the India-Thailand Trade Council of
Thailand. The ITFAA office was opened with the signing of a memorandum of
understanding with the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Anusorn Muttaraid, chairman of the Thailand-India
Business Council said the office would play a crucial role in strengthening
ties between the two regions. “Now the people of Thailand will not have to
depend on Mumbai or Kolkata to get information about the northeast,” he
Rajesh Das, ITFAA vice president, said the agreement will
allow both sides to better identify trade opportunities and identify
products that can be well marketed in each country.
“One of the very important components of the agreement is
to facilitate the artisans of the northeast in getting access to knowledge
about the latest styles and designs used in Thailand and currently in demand
in the global markets,” Das said. “Such collaborations in the handicraft and
handloom sector will be a big boost for the region’s artisans and enable
them to catch the global market.”