N-E state govts active stakeholders in India's Act East Policy: Swaraj

NEW DELHI
5 May 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers of the north eastern states on Saturday deliberated on intra-regional and sub-regional connectivity of the area, considered India's gateway to Southeast Asia.
The focus of the discussion was on continued development of relevant infrastructure both within the state and at international borders with a view to enhance trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people ties.  Swaraj said the state governments of the northeastern region were active stakeholders in India's Act East Policy.
Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein and minister of state for external affairs V K Singh participated in the meeting.  Representatives from concerned ministries of the Centre and the governments of the northeastern states were also present.
The meeting followed up on an earlier meeting chaired by Swaraj with the governors of the northeastern states in November 2017. "The meeting deliberated on the northeastern region's intra-regional and sub-regional surface and air linkages, focusing on seamless connectivity with its contiguous neighbourhood.
"Continued development of relevant infrastructure both within the state and at international borders was also discussed with a view to enhancing trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people ties," the statement said. ASEAN is an important element of India's Act East Policy. Early this year, India hosted the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. The northeast is also considered India's gateway to Southeast Asia and New Delhi has initiated several connectivity projects like the trilateral highway involving India-Myanmar-Thailand to link the region with ASEAN countries.
Another reflective remark on Central government’s 'Act East Policy' was made by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president Poonam Mahajan as he claimed that the Modi ministry’s'Act East Policy' is leading to "massive development" in the north-eastern states and has earned people's confidence.
Mahajan, who is on a three-day tour of Tripura, Assam and Manipur, made these remarks at programmes held by the BJP youth wing, a BJYM statement said. "Time for divisive politics is over. Now it is time for development," she said, adding that the central government has various plans for the region. The BJP has accorded high priority to turn India's 'Look East policy' into the 'Act East Policy', she said, according to the statement. The policy serves two purposes for the government, which is stronger trade and business ties with other south-east Asian countries and development opportunities to the north-eastern states, she said, adding that development is the "best antidote" to insurgency. (PTI)