Indian merchants network at festive get-together

Mridul (in suit) and his wife Sumita lighting an oil lamp at the CIIM Deepavali networking dinner. Watching on is Sharma.

IT WAS a meaningful evening as the Consortium of Indian Industries in Malaysia (CIIM) hosted a Deepavali networking dinner in Kuala Lumpur.

Playing host was CIIM founder chairman Datuk Umang Sharma, who worked hard to ensure the success of the event.

Indian High Commissioner Mridul Kumar and his wife Sumita Goyal were the special guests.

Among the other VIP guests were Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud, Binary University chairman Professor Tan Sri Joseph Adaikalam, Sutra Foundation chairman Datuk Ramli Ibrahim and Sarawak’s Swinburne University deputy vice-chancellor and chief executive officer Professor John Wilson.

Also present at the TPC Golf Club were presidents and senior officers from the various chambers of commerce and associations, besides senior officials of International Trade and Industry Ministry, Tourism Malaysia, Talentcorp and other government departments and agencies.

The evening began with a solo Odissi dance performance by Sandhya Manoj, who doubled up as emcee for the event.

In his speech, Sharma said the networking event was important in providing a platform for Indian companies in Malaysia to meet, network and share their concerns.

Since its inception in 2005, he said CIIM, which is an industry apex body comprising Indian companies operating in Malaysia with investments from India, had been working on promoting trade and investments between Malaysia and India.

“Besides this, CIIM also works closely with both Malaysian and Indian governments through their respective High Commissioners, ministers and both our Prime Ministers.

“When Malaysia and India signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to give the business community a ‘first mover advantage’, CIIM was the first to organise a full-day dialogue session to highlight the business opportunities that arose from this agreement, ” he added.

Sharma, who is Bry-Air Malaysia chief executive officer, said CIIM led delegations to various Malaysian economic corridors and held meetings with state governments to explore business opportunities and offer CIIM member services to Malaysian organisations.

“Indian companies have also greatly contributed to Malaysia’s growth story, having invested over US$3bil and creating more than 15,000 jobs.

“However, this is only a small fraction of the vast untapped potential that exists between our two countries, ” he added.

Kumar, who is the patron of CIIM, congratulated the body for its effective work and for always going the extra mile.

The evening was made extra special by traditional dances and live Bollywood-style singing.

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