India and Myanmar explore collaboration opportunities in women entrepreneurship and sustainable livelihoods


New Delhi: Creating a roadmap for exploring opportunities for collaboration between Indian and Myanmar to empower women entrepreneurs and generate sustainable livelihoods for women was discussed at a webinar organized by the FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO).

The interactive session was organized in partnership with the Indian Embassy in Myanmar, India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce (IMCC), and Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs’ Association (MWEA). Saurabh Kumar, IFS, Ambassador of India to Myanmar, and Sunil Seth, President of India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce talked about growing business opportunities between the two countries.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s Act East policy focuses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region. Its primary objective is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop a strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.

The policy which was originally (1992) envisaged as an economic initiative, has now gained political, strategic, and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation thereby clearly highlighting the new approach of India.

“The cultural exchanges and historical contacts between our two countries are the base and core of our relationship. India and Myanmar both are part of BIMSTEC and Myanmar is the only country which comes under the ambits of our two foreign policy initiatives ‘Act East and Neighbourhood First’. Now we need to focus more on the business interactions and trade between the two countries,” said Saurabh Kumar, IFS, Ambassador of India to Myanmar on the webinar.

“It gives me great pleasure to start our Dialogue Series with Myanmar first, among our Bimstec countries. In this new decade of 2020’s, let us forge ahead to work together for business opportunities and explore the potential for livelihood-linked and entrepreneurship-driven market forces to build a strong economic alliance for our women and create a cadre of women leaders in both our countries,” said Jahnabi Phookan, FLO President giving a background to this webinar.

“Sustainability as the way forward for a Self-Reliant India and that People, Planet and Profits can certainly co-exist together. Keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, we want to take forward the 3 C’s for Myanmar: Commerce, Communication, and Culture,” added Phookan.

“These are unprecedented times and we are all fighting the unseen enemy of Covid19. Sustainability has taken centre stage to create livelihood-linked and entrepreneurship-driven enterprises by women. Women must strive to be job creators and not job seekers,” said Phookan.

“This session opens up a new door of opportunity of collaboration between the women entrepreneurs of India and Myanmar. With active support from Indian Embassy in Myanmar, IMCC & (MWEA), we are hopeful that we can create a roadmap towards creating business opportunities, areas for collaboration, and also mentoring women from India and Myanmar,” she added.

“IMCC started two years back and we have around 119 members from Indian and Myanmar companies. Both India and Myanmar are fast-developing economies, we see great potential in trade between these two countries and there are many sectors and industries where we can work together for improving business relations and community engagements,” said Sunil Seth, President of India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce.

“Our Association promotes women entrepreneurs by training, coaching, and mentoring them. We also volunteer to support and motivate school girls towards education,” said Khin Thet Maw, General Secretary, MWEA.

“We aim to explore partnership opportunities between the Women Chamber of Commerce of India and Myanmar, to come up with a collaborative platform to help women entrepreneurs in creating sustainable livelihoods,” said Dharitri Patnaik, Chairperson FLO Bhubaneshwar Chapter was the Day Chair.

Some other eminent members of FLO and MWEA also shared industry-specific inputs during the webinar.

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