As Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis begins his five-day visit to China Thursday, high on his agenda will be to market Maharashtra as a tourism destination. Fadnavis is part of a delegation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will be touring China to strengthen ties through business partnership.
Fadnavis said, “The concerted attempt would be to promote the concept of Make in India… Apart from that, it would be my endeavour to tap business partnerships to take ahead the Make in Maharashtra mission.”
The state is looking for greater investment and partnership with Chinese firms in areas of development of deep sea ports and infrastructure (sealink, bridges, etc).
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The highlight of the China tour will be to develop a ‘sister city’ concept between Dunhuang and Aurangabad, which have a striking similarity vis-à-vis cultural tourism because of their ancient Buddhist caves. The Ajanta and Ellora caves on the outskirts of Aurangabad city, which is emerging as a business hub in Marathwada region of Maharashtra, will be marketed in this connection.
The chief minister will spend a day at Dunhuang, which is notable for its strategic position on the Silk Route apart from its ancient Mogao Caves. Known as the Singing-Sand Mountain, Dunhuang will be tapped as a destination for Indian tourists and Aurangabad — known for its Ajanta and Ellora caves, a World Heritage Site, and cave paintings — would be aggressively marketed in China under the banner of ‘sister cities’.
The Maharashtra government wants to have Dunhuang and Aurangabad as the mascot to promote India-China culture and tourism centred on Buddhism, which is common to both destinations and nations.
The ancient Silk Route, which was perceived as the road to prosperity for trade in both India and China, will also be revisited to strengthen business partnership in common sectors of textile industry.
Fadnavis will also tour Beijing, Zhengzhou, Chengdu and Qingdao.
At Beijing, he will participate in the State Provisional Forum to discuss Indo-China Development Ahead. He will be part of a discussion on Sustainable Urbanisation: Smart Cities and Smart Living.
Among the 100 smart cities shortlisted in India, almost ten are from Maharashtra.
Fadnavis said, “We are going to have deliberations with leading companies engaged in heavy industries, manufacturing and automobiles to take our business ventures ahead.”
A senior officer who will be part of the China tour said, “Maharashtra is pursuing its own agenda keeping in mind the areas where we would want to attract investments and expertise from Chinese firms.”
On the larger concern of Chinese goods invading the domestic market, he said, “This is another reason we have to aggressively market ourselves. If we attract Chinese companies on home turf, it would pave the way for greater employment opportunities to locals
He added that possibilities of boosting exports from India to China would be discussed too.