Kolkata: Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation’s subsidiary will triple production of a key component used in making polyester and PET bottles at its Haldia plant by 2009, Japanese Prime Minister Shinjo Abe said on 23 August.
“I understand that the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation plant (in Haldia) will triple its production by 2009,” Abe said after inaugurating the Rabindra-Okakura Bhavan, an Indo- Japan cultural centre in Salt Lake City.
Company sources earlier said MCC PTA India Corporation Pvt Limited planned to set up its second 8,00,000-tonne purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Haldia at a cost of Rs1,665 crore. This would be completed by 2008.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee speaks with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at the inauguration of Bharat-Japan Cultural Centre in Kolkata on 23 August
The sources said the company wanted to make the unit the world’s largest in a single line capable of producing the best quality PTA.
MCC PTA’s first plant with an annual production capacity of 4,70,000 tonnes was set up in Haldia in 2000.
Abe also said the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta would start a course with Japanese collaboration.
Noting that Japan looked at West Bengal as the “Gateway to India”, Abe said his country expected the state to play a pivotal role in strengthening bilateral relations.
Media barred from covering Abe’s meet with CM
The media were barred from covering a high-level meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee at a five-star hotel here on 23 August.
Though the state government’s information and cultural affairs department had sent invitations to a section of the media yesterday, these were cancelled hours later.
A statement said, “Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee calling on H E Shinzo Abe has been dropped due to some unavoidable circumstances. We, therefore regret to inform you that the invitation communicated to you may kindly be treated as cancelled.”
Asked whether the meeting had been totally cancelled, a state government spokesman had said it would be held but the media would not be allowed to cover it.
Bhattacharjee had said last evening that only two news agencies, AIR and Doordarshan, would be allowed to cover the meeting.
On reaching the hotel this morning, representatives of AIR and Doordarshan too were prevented from going inside.
Several representatives from other news organisations too were barred from entering the hotel.
When Bhattacharjee’s press secretary was told that the chief minister had allowed AIR and Doordarshan to cover the event, he said police were not allowing their entry on the ground that there would be a serious breach of security.
Though no Indian reporter was present, the meeting was covered by six members of the Japanese media.
‘WB to play pivotal role in strengthening Indo-Japan ties’
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that his country looked upto West Bengal as the ‘gateway to India’ and expected the state to play a pivotal role in strengthening Indo-Japan relations.
Abe said: “Japan looks upto West Bengal as the gateway to India. The Japanese consulate in Kolkata was set up exactly a 100 years ago in 1907, even earlier than the Chinese embassy in India.”
Stating that his country expected West Bengal to play a pivotal role in strengthening relations with India, he said “I am here today to reaffirm this role.”
Abe said relations between Japan and Kolkata existed ‘at the deepest level of the soul´ as reflected in the writings of Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore, besides a host of Japanese intellectuals and artists.
“Many people in Japan are moved by people such as (Netaji Subhas) Chandra Bose and (eminent freedom fighter) Rash Behari Bose. Even today, a large number of Japanese respect Radha Binode Pal (a member of the international military tribunal),” he said.
He said that modern times, relations between Japan and Bengal have transcended the boundaries of culture into the domains of industry and academics.
Abe’s idea of ‘broader Asia’ partnership irks Chinese scholars
Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe’s suggestion in New Delhi to have a “broader Asia” partnership involving India, US, Australia and his country while leaving out China, has come in for sharp criticism from scholars here, who claimed it resurrects a “Cold War mentality” and is not conducive to regional peace.
During a major foreign policy speech in Parliament on 22 August, Abe mooted the idea of a “broader Asia” partnership that would include India, the US and Australia, besides Japan. He did not mention China in the speech.
Abe’s idea of an alliance of democracies among Japan, India, the US and Australia is not conducive to peace and stability in the region as it could divide Asia by ideology, Chinese analysts said.