By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
The Embassy of India in Manila brought to Iloilo the India Business Roadshow on May 31, in a bid to explore investment opportunities and potential business partnerships in the city and the province.
Around 30 leading Indian businesses from varied industry sectors showcased their products and portfolios to connect with businesses in Iloilo particularly in industries such as information technology and business process management (IT-BPM); pharmaceutical and health care; fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG); engineering and automobile; solid waste management; agriculture, irrigation, and chemicals; and innovative tech solutions.
The roadshow is the first in the Visayas. Similar events have been held in Baguio, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and most recently, in Laoag.
Dileep Tiwari, president of the India Business Forum Association Philippines Inc. (IBF), said apart from the high-skilled manpower in the region, one of the reasons why they choose Iloilo is because of its geographical location.
“Iloilo is located in the heart of the Philippines. And that also provides access equally from Mindanao and Luzon. I am sure the businessmen that the IBF carries are more interested to invest more in Iloilo,” he said.
The IBF and Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry-Iloilo Chapter, Inc. (PCCI-Iloilo) has entered into a memorandum of understanding to establish a collaborative partnership that will strengthen and facilitate support for the former’s future business communities in Iloilo.
IBF is a non-stock organization which aims to foster an Indo-Philippine relationship with close coordination with the Indian Embassy in the Philippines.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said the province is ready to accommodate IBF’s request for business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-government (B2G) interactions with Indian companies as he sees “a sea of potential between India and Iloilo.”
Meanwhile, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas touted the progress and innovations made by the city government and expressed that the coming of Indian firms is an exploration of new avenues of growth.
Indian Ambassador Shambu S. Kumaran said the partnership between India and Iloilo will work in a manner that will increase stability in respective regions and will contribute to the development in a mutually beneficial and balanced manner.
“This is not about increasing the benefit from a single dimension but increasing the mutuality of benefits. That is where the fundamental value proposition for a new phase of the India-Philippines relationship rests,” he explained.
Citing the lack of awareness of each other’s potential and capabilities in the business industry, Kumaran said the Embassy is actively working to address this issue by organizing multiple bilateral business conferences and city roadshows across diverse sectors.
Kumaran is likewise optimistic that the roadshow will create a bridge that connects the oceans of opportunities between India and Iloilo, establishing a seamless pathway for collaboration and growth.
In a media conference on May 30, Indian Ambassador Shambu S. Kumaran said the Embassy would like to bring India’s dynamism to the Philippines.
“We would like to pass the message that India is interested in a much stronger, much deeper, and more dynamic partnership with the Philippines. And we want to explore all possible pathways by which we can build this partnership,” he said as he emphasized India’s position as the world’s fifth-largest economy.