NRI, Diljit Rana prominent businessman
elected Irish business lobby chief
London, May 15, 2004
Diljit Rana, India's honorary consul in Belfast, has been elected president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce (NICC) and has vowed to strengthen the region's business links with India.
A prominent businessman, Rana succeeds Mike Mills, a former chief executive of Ulster Carpets. Rana owns a string of hotels and has extensive property interests in Northern Ireland.
Rana was presented the commission of appointment from the president as India's honorary consul in Belfast by Indian High Commissioner Ronen Sen in March.
He promised to strengthen links with India as he addressed around 400 NICC members at the organisation's annual lunch this week.
He paid a tribute to the work of his predecessor, particularly in the field of export development and said he would continue to support the effort of Northern Ireland companies selling overseas.
He said he was particularly keen to help a wide range of organisations develop export links with India where he maintains strong connections.
Rana also said he would make it a priority to develop university links between Northern Ireland and India, which he saw as a key element in the development of both economies.
Rana, who holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster, led a delegation of academics from the varsity to India last month to explore educational partnerships.
"I want to play a major role in furthering education and business links between Northern Ireland and India," Rana told the guests.
"We will work towards developing trade between India and Northern Ireland and we have a wonderful opportunity to attract students from India to come here to study."
He also gave a commitment to vigorously support the development of tourism in Northern Ireland, which he said was a sector where significant growth could be made.
Earlier this month Rana was elevated to
the House of Lords.