A part of this thought has been converted into action over the years through the efforts put in by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) by organising India International Trade Fair (IITF), but it certainly didn’t get a breakthrough until recently, when Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi gave way to the ‘Make In India’ initiative.IITF, an annual celebration of trade and industry, aims to strengthen our bilateral relations with the rest of the world. In the realm of external relations, the government has intensified India’s engagement with it’s neighbours and all friendly countries across the globe for better trade and cultural relations. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Complimenting ITPO, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, underlined the contribution of the organisation in providing an ideal platform to SMEs. According to him, the fair, which is an archetype of the modern trade show, is a brand name in itself, enjoying recognition worldwide.This edition of the fair has a tremendous significance, especially when a unique transformation is taking place in the country. Several recent initiatives of the Government have already shown results and a positive impact has been created in key sectors. The ‘Make in India’ initiative will help India become a sought after investment and manufacturing destination. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe 35th edition of India’s largest trade fair has commenced on a high note here, drawing huge crowds to the sprawling Pragati Maidan fairgrounds on the very first day. Some of the sellers attributed the overwhelming response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ mantra.LC Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director, ITPO, expressed his gratitude to the President of India for sparing his gracious time and highlighted the salient features of the fair. He informed that IITF 2015 has participation of over 7000 exhibitors from 28 countries as against 6800 exhibitors last year. He also stated that IITF is a 14-day grand festival to celebrate and stimulate Indian trade and commerce, not only within the country but across the globe as well. Aligning with the Government of India policy of Start- Up, ITPO has earmarked Hall No. 26 for start-up enterpreneurs who have been provided a discounted tariff on rentals. ITPO has dedicated itself to ‘Swachh Bharat Mission,’ by introducing a separate award category for the best State Pavilion.Speaking on the occasion, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of Afghanistan, the partner country for the fair, expressed his happiness over the participation of his country as a partner country and stated that India is a strategic partner of Afghanistan.Syed Muazeem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh, the focus country for the fair, appreciated India’s Look East policy which represents its efforts to cultivate extensive economic and cultural relations with the nations of Southeast Asia.Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Department of Commerce, Industry and Employment, Government of Madhya Pradesh, the focus state of the fair, emphasised that Madhya Pradesh, ranked fifth for Ease of Doing Business in India by World Bank, is also laying emphasis on infrastructure development and IT.As a partner country, Afghanistan had its own pavilion at the exposition with around 50 stalls selling handmade jewellery, watches, world renowned Afghani carpets, kaftans, saffron and dry fruits – a hot seller. Aiming at potential women buyers, is the Afghani Lapis Lazuli stoned jewellery. “Considering it’s the start of the fair, we have had a very good sale and have noticed huge numbers of buyers compared to the previous years. India’s push for ‘Make in India’ could be doing the trick,” said Shirin Qahraman, a woman entrepreneur from Kabul. Qahraman’s store has an exclusive collection of Lapis Lazuli neck-pieces, rings and bracelets. The neck-pieces start from Rs 2,000 and go as high as Rs 10,000.For Sado Zai, 32, a retail carpet seller from Kabul, the fair has been extremely helpful in marketing his products across the world. “The trade fair has been enabling us showcase our products to people around the world. I now have a few clients in India who import my carpets regularly. Through Make in India project, we are exploring ways to set up a business here,” said Zai as he exhibited his wares. The Afghani carpets are priced anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000, depending on their size.As enthusiastic were the sellers about the fair, many expressed concern that the rent they have to pay for their stalls has skyrocketed. “For a stall of 10×6 feet, manned by two people, the rent is as high as $4,500 for the (two-week) duration of the fair. If this continues, it would be difficult for us to return in future,” Qahraman said.Also grabbing eyeballs at the fair were Turkish stalls with their bright glass lamps, ceramics and the well-known Turkish tea pots. Along with that, the Chinese pavilion is displaying a large number of technology-related products like water purifiers, energy-saving room heaters and food processors, among others. Indian khadi stalls with products from across the country are also a huge hit.Rashi Kumar, a bank professional, has been visiting the fair for the past 10 years and said the variety of products displayed by foreign participants is much better this year. “I have noticed many new countries participating this year, with a wider variety of products,” Kumar said, although the organisers last year announced participation of delegations from 41 countries.