This was Mr. Mas’s second official international visit in November, following a four-day trade mission to Israel several weeks earlier.
Returning on November 29th with a handful of new strategic agreements with both commercial and public sector entities, President Mas immediately affirmed the success of his visit. Mr. Mas also expressed strong optimism for the long-term benefits of the hundreds of new business and government contacts made in key sectors during his several days abroad in India.
New Delhi: Paying Respects & New Investments
President Mas began his official visit to India by paying respects to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, two of the founding fathers of modern India, at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library in the capital city of New Delhi. That afternoon, Mr. Mas visited Streets of India , an NGO founded by Pablo Castells which supports local social projects focused on underserved populations.
During the several days which he spent in the Indian capital, President Mas had many opportunities to share the strengths of Catalan society and Catalonia’s regional economy with Indian business leaders from key sectors such as automotive parts manufacturing, tourism, and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).
Speaking at a meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) , Mr. Mas pointed out the strong trade relationship that already exists between India and Catalonia, as “Catalonia is responsible for 26% of Spain’s exports to India and 37% of its imports from India”.
During a meeting with India’s auto industry leaders at a morning business-to-business (B2B) session hosted by ACC1Ó and the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) , Mr. Mas highlighted Catalonia’s strong international aspects, reminding the audience that “more than fifty percent of the Catalan population is originally from outside of Catalonia,” and that it remains a “leader [in Europe] in attracting and retaining foreign investment”.
President Mas also toured the facility of the multinational automotive parts manufacturer Samvardhana Motherson Group located just outside of New Delhi. Samvardhana Motherson Group has three plants in Catalonia, and announced a new €30 million investment in the region during Mr. Mas’s visit.
President Mas met with ICT industry leaders at the annual meeting of the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) , a non-profit organization formed by some 120 Indian businesses. Speaking to the group during the meeting’s opening address, Mr. Mas underlined that despite the vast size differences in territory and population, he believes that “Catalonia and India are perfectly comparable in terms of the entrepreneurial spirit” which both regions have long demonstrated.
Before departing the Indian capital city, President Mas also met with the Chief Minister of Maharastra State , Prithviraj Chavan . During their time together at the Maharastra State offices in New Dehli, Mr. Mas and Mr. Chavan discussed a new agreement for strategic collaboration between Catalonia and Maharastra that will be signed by their governments in the near future. The agreement will focus on strengthening the automotive, agricultural, ICT, and tourist sectors, as well as infrastructure (including ports and airports) in the two regions.
Chief Minister Chavan affirmed the importance of the new strategic relationship by proposing a direct flight between Mumbai and Barcelona, and explaining to President Mas how the city of Barcelona has become a point of reference in Maharastra for urban design, public sanitation, water management, and food processing.
Mumbai: Collaborative Agreements & Fashion from Catalonia
In Mumbai, the economic and commercial capital of India, President Mas gave a presentation at the Catalonia-India Business Summit, organized by ACC1Ó and the Mumbai Chamber of Commerce . “Catalonia can be a key platform for India from which to introduce Indian products and services in both the Mediterranean and all of Europe,” Mr. Mas affirmed. The Business Summit resulted in a collaborative agreement between the Barcelona and Mumbai Chambers of Commerce.
The following morning, President Mas joined Port of Barcelona President Sixte Cambra as he signed an agreement with the Mumbai Port Trust . The agreement strengthens the relationship between the two ports and will help to develop future business opportunities.
While in Mumbai, President Mas also attended a fashion show presented by 080 Barcelona Fashion featuring the work of Catalan designers from labels such as Mango, Custo, Brain&Best, and Justicia Ruano.
Pune: Non-Profits & Joint Ventures
In addition to spending time in Mumbai, President Mas also visited the city of Pune in Maharastra State. There, Mr. Mas spent a morning visiting a program organized by Educo , a Catalan non-profit organization that works locally with communities to promote sustainable social change by improving living conditions for marginalized groups.
During the afternoon, he toured the facilities of Tata-Ficosa Ltd . , a joint venture between an Indian firm and Catalonia’s Ficosa , and spoke at the presentation ceremony for a new joint venture between Catalonia’s Zanini and India’s Polyplastics .
President Mas also visited the Catalan firm IDIADA ’s facility in Pune. The Government of Catalonia founded IDIADA in 1990 as an independent publicly-owned company in order to provide support for the automotive industry in Catalonia. Despite selling off the main share of the company to the private sector in 1999, the Government of Catalonia retains a 20% stake in the enterprise. The Pune facility has so far been a great success for IDIADA, and this year celebrates its fifth birthday.
Bangalore: New Opportunities in ICT
President Mas spent the final day of his official visit to India in Bangalore, “the Silicon Valley of India.” Mr. Mas was invited to open the European Business and Technology Center (EBTC) Forum, and was able to visit several “truly important companies, some of which will likely finalize investments in Catalonia in the near future.”
During his last afternoon in India, President Mas met with former Indian Minister of External Affairs, S.M. Krishna . Mr. Mas and Mr. Krishna spoke over lunch at Bangalore’s renowned Caperberry , founded by Chef Abhijit Saha, a disciple of Catalan culinary master Ferran Adrià and “molecular gastronomy.” Mr. Mas and Mr. Krishna had previously met last year during Mr. Krishna’s official visit to Catalonia before resigning from the position of Minister of External Affairs to return to his work in local government.