THE Indian Chamber of Commerce is planning to take a small party of Hong Kong-Chinese manufacturers on a fact-finding tour of India in April. Reacting in typically farsighted fashion to the ongoing reform process in India, the chamber will energetically promote the country's benefits as a manufacturing location. Hatim Ebrahim, chairman of the ICC, said: ''Following India's major reforms in trade, currency and investment matters, there are real manufacturing opportunities there to cater to India's vast population. ''We will also be stressing how suitable the Indian framework is for secure inward investment. There is a long-established British-derived legal tradition, English is very widely spoken, labour and land costs are low and there is a well-developed infrastructure.'' The visit is still being planned but, if it takes place, it will be the chamber's first such attempt to encourage Hong Kong industry to set up in India. The idea forms one strand of what appears to be a subtle new direction for the ICC - creating closer and more effective links with both local and mainland Chinese businesses. Another line of contact runs through Hari Harilela, permanent honorary president of the ICC, who has been appointed as one of China's Hong Kong affairs advisers. A third is the chamber's hopes of building on the success of its inaugural visit to the mainland last January. During the visit, the delegation spoke to Lu Ping, the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, who said he was ''well aware how the territory's Indian community was responsible for so much of the re-exports of Chinese-made goods''. ''In the event, the amount of confidence he gave us for our future in Hong Kong was remarkable,'' Mr Harilela said. Mr Ebrahim said the Indian community accounted for about 10 per cent of Hong Kong's total trade. ''Mr Lu also promised us no trading or religious restrictions after 1997,'' Mr Ebrahim said. But there was concern over one aspect of the handover. ''It is not yet clear what the criteria will be for foreign passport holders seeking to stay in Hong Kong,'' Mr Ebrahim said. ''The new arrangements have mentioned owning property, or running an established business. We would like further clarification on these matters.'' He said the uncertainty was distracting businessmen from planning for growth, but the community remained cautiously optimistic about Hong Kong's future.''