Dipu Shaw & Gaurav Kumar

Do you want a taste of the cultural diversity of India without necessarily worrying about going round the vast country? Well, the 28th India International Trade Fair (IITF) is one place to have the experience. You can also get a glimpse of few other countries in the process.

The 14-day Trade Fair is into its second week now. Just like the previous years, this year too, the “mini India show” is getting a very good response from the public. Infrastructure development in India and women’s empowerment are the two focal themes of the present fair, with Orissa as the partner state and Kerala as the focus state.
Organized by Indian Government’s nodal trade promotion agency India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), IITF has had a history spanning more than two decades. Ever since its inception in 1980, the trade fair has proved to be a major crowd puller for consumers as well as traders, manufacturers, exporters and importers.
In tune with the government's commitment to promote closer ties with its neighbouring countries, Pakistan has been accorded Partner Country status while 'ASEAN' countries have been selected as the Focus Region at IITF' 08

Pakistan’s participation as a partner nation is a special attraction in this year’s fair. The Pakistani exhibitors have managed to do good business. Ilahi Baksh, an exhibitor from Suad in Pakistan has rare varieties of traditional Pakistani and Afghan shawls that are much in demand with the Indian buyers. “The response is good. Even on the first day the number of customers was more than what we expected”, he says.

Pakistan has got maximum space among the foreign countries to display its products. However, a number of stalls allotted to the partner country were empty on the first day of the fair. “Our stuff is lying with the custom authorities, so what can we offer to the visitors”, said a frustrated Mohammed Rafiq, a businessman from Pakistan.

The businessmen who have got their stuff are already doing brisk business. Customers are flocking in for the unique collection of Pakistani fabrics and a taste of the partner country’s cuisines.

The stalls of the other Asian countries are also seeing their share of customers and the crowd is expected to increase by this weekend. They are doing there bit in making IITF one of Asia’s largest trade show of its kind.