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Welsh minister keen on Indian connection

Wales, A small “country”, with a population of just three million is now focusing on developing close links with India, said its First Minister Rhodri Morgan, reports Vijay Dutt.

world Updated: Nov 16, 2007 23:03 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times

WALES, A small “country”, with a population of just three million, like Agra, is now focusing on developing close links with India, said its First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

“Encouraged by the arrival of Tata since its acquisition of Corus and the 7000-strong Gujarati and other Indian communities, I am eager to project the image of my country,” he said while talking to HT.

Morgan’s prediction for India in 2050 is interesting.

“China will be a factory, India, an office of outsourcing, Africa a graveyard, America, a weapons and film-maker, Brazil and Argentina farm houses, and Europe, an old people’s home.”

“And we will try our best to have strong links with India much before then,” he said.

Since the devolution in 1999, Wales has been looking outwards to establish links with countries like India where it has little presence. Wooing “mega markets like India and China”, he admits, is an onerous task as they already "have many suitors".

But he hopes the first-ever delegation to India with 20 industrialists and businessmen led by his deputy First Minister Leuan Win Jones in the third week of November “will lead to a honeymoon in relations and then an active marriage… I would call the visit as a probing mission.”

“The attempt of the delegation would be kick-start trade relations, especially in knowledge-based and IT sector, education and, of course, with Bollywood,” he said.

"Although our secret weapon to raise our profile in India is the Gujarati community and the huge investment by Tata, we hope cricket will help us make deeper inroads," he said.

The Government is very proud that the Glamorgan Cricket County grounds in Cardiff would host an Ashes match next year for the first time.

“We are trying to get India play a Test match when it tours next around 2011.”

In education, we have established several links, with research students and teachers exchange programmes. There are around nine Indians, out of 80, in the post-graduate journalism department of the Cardiff University linked with the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai.

The strategy to woo India, according to Morgan to would be multi-pronged, develop bigger packages of student exchange, provide research facilities and special dispensation for film production and profit-driven offers to investors.

First Published: Nov 16, 2007 23:00 IST