Look East policy boosting trade growth: Purandeswari

Visakhapatnam: Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development D Purandeswari has said the Government’s `Look East’ policy is encouraging trade growth from eastern ports, particularly those in Andhra Pradesh.

The `Look East’ policy, initiated in early 1990s, has given an important place to the country’s eastern coast in the world maritime business. It has boosted India’s trade with East and Southeast Asia, she said here.

She was speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day `East Coast Maritime Business’ summit last evening.

Underlining the need for creating more infrastructure to enhance maritime trade, Purandeswari said with deep draft facility available at various ports on the east coast, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, there was a wide scope to further boost sea-borne commerce.

The Minister, who is Lok Sabha MP from Visakhapatnam, said the Centre had sanctioned another port in Andhra Pradesh.

She said the maritime cargo would rise in future with Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) and several major industrial projects and multi-product Special Economic Zones(SEZ) coming up in Andhra Pradesh.

National Shipping Board Chairman P V K Mohan said the east coast offered a wide scope for growth in bulk and container cargo with plans being undertaken to increase the capacities of Krishnapatnam, Kakinada and Gangavaram ports in the state.

He said the Centre has asked the states to identify suitable sites to set up greenfield ports. West Bengal and AP had given proposals for establishing majors ports.

Visakhapatnam Port Trust Chairman Ajeya Kallam said efforts were on to transform Visakhapatnam port into a preferred gateway point in South Asia.

Since India’s trade ties with China and other East Asian countries are expanding rapidly, the significance of east coast ports would be rise in future, he added.