(Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran)
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reportedly denied permission to Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran to attend a global tourism event in China. What the ministry did was criticized as “double standards,” since on the one hand it banned official’s Chinese visit, while on the other asked for money from China.
The UN World Tourism Organization will hold its 22nd General Assembly in Chengdu, China, on September 11, an event which will be attended by tourism ministers and officials from 160 countries.
Surendran said the denial was more like a political decision, and the MEA has not cited any reason for it, the Hindustan Times reported on September 9. According to the report, the tourism minister received an invitation letter to attend the event in early June and started to prepare for the visit thereafter.
In a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Kerala said his state is disappointed at the denial of opportunity in promoting its tourism at an international forum. Participation at the conference would have given Kerala an opportunity to present its achievements before a global audience, he wrote, according to Times of India.
Though maintaining high alertness toward China, India seems to want more from the latter. During a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan on the sidelines of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Manila, Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu called for greater Chinese investments in India, according to The Hindu on September 9.
The investments, according to the Indian minister, will be aimed at reducing India’s bilateral trade deficit with China, which, in the last fiscal year, was $51 billion. The India side also wanted to seek greater investments from Chinese firms, including in India’s export-focused special economic zones, The Hindu said.