India moves to become part of Bureau of Expositions

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on February 27, 2011

Finally, India is taking some steps towards fulfilling the distant dream of hosting the World Expo.

According to Mr Subhas Pani, Chairman of the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the Union Ministry of External Affairs has recently approved a proposal from the Commerce Ministry to make India a member country of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).

“The proposal is now awaiting the final clearance of the Union Commerce Ministry, which is a prerequisite for India to enter into an agreement with the BIE,” Mr Pani told Business Line on Thursday.

The Paris-headquartered BIE is an octogenarian inter-Government agency created under a Convention in 1928; it supervises international exhibitions, especially the biggest of them all, the World Expo — economies showcase their industrial might in this once-in-five-year event.

And, just like the Olympics or the World Cup, the host country of the Expo is decided by international bidding among the member countries.

Inspired by China

The Indian initiative was largely inspired by the dazzling show put up by China during the Shanghai Expo in 2010 — the first one to be held outside the developed world.

What impressed the Indian authorities the most was the scope for development of infrastructure, especially urban infrastructure.

“We will soon initiate the process to make India a member country of the BIE. I am hopeful that the Union Government will consider the proposal favourably,” Mr Pani told Business Line last May in Shanghai.

He was responding to a query if India should bid for the expo.

Nearly 10 months later, Mr Pani is now hopeful of becoming a member of BIE sooner or later.

“Hopefully we will participate at the next World Expo at Milan in Italy as a member country,” he said.

Published on February 25, 2011

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