Gujarat Invites Asian Experts To Develop Buddhist Circuit

Bernama, September 25, 2009

AHMEDABAD, India -- Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seeking the assistance of Asian experts to develop Buddhism-related tourism in the western state of India.

"Gujarat is known for its trade, industrial development, agriculture and the state's high growth rate but it is not known for tourism, it is not on the map.

"Here, there are lot of stories rooted in Buddhism and lots of Buddhist sites. Asian experts can contribute in developing this tourism circuit," Modi told visiting Asian envoys.

Over 30 Delhi-based Asian diplomats were invited to his home state to attend the start of the nine-day grand Navratri festival last weekend.

Modi, who was recently named the "FDI Asian Personality of the Year" by FDI Magazine of the Financial Times Group, used the occasion as a diplomatic-cum-trade exercise to promote Gujarat -- ranked as one of the fastest growing states in India.

Last year, Gujarat pulled in about US$2.8 billion (RM9.8 billion) in foreign direct investment (FDI), which was about 10.3 per cent of total FDIs into India.

Malaysian High Commissioner to India Datuk Tan Seng Sung, who was part of the high-profile delegation, told Modi that Malaysia was equally keen to work closely with the Gujarat government, in terms of tourism and investments.

"We can participate in promoting tourism and investments in Gujarat. We would like to see more of your tourists visiting Malaysia, we need to have substantial dialogue to promote these joint activities," Tan told Modi during an interaction session.

Modi, a staunch Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader, said the government would organise an international Buddhist conclave in Vadodara in January next year.