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Bilateral Ties with neighboring countries will Felicitate Development in NE : DCM Chowna Mein

New Delhi, 19 July :Deputy Chief Minister, Chowna Mein while addressing the Special Plenary Session of 10th Delhi Dialoque chaired by the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen (Dr) V K Singh (retd) said that under the strong and visionary leadership of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the North East Region has embarked upon a new growth trajectory and has indeed become the new engine of India’s growth. He said, “special attention and priority has been given to the North Eastern Region by the Govt of India on all fronts through its pro-active ‘Act East Policy’ which has vastly changed the mindset of people of other parts of the world about the region. As part of this policy, Govt. of India is focusing on reducing the isolation of the region by improving all round connectivity through road, rail, telecom, power and waterways sectors and making it the gateway to South East Asia”.  He said that the opening up of both road and rail routes to our neighboring countries through North East would give a boost to the economic development of the region.

Highlighting the steps taken by the Govt of India, Mein stated that the North-East Region (NER) of India can be a hub to facilitate development cooperation across the border with countries in the immediate neighborhood like Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh& Bhutan and even with those located a little beyond like Cambodia, Laos PDR & Vietnam. He said the the mutual benefit accruing to India from such development cooperation activities will spill over in a more than proportionate manner to the North-Eastern States of India.

He stressed on furthering efforts to fructify establishment of clear convergence with India’s Act East Policy which can be achieved only when a thorough ground level one-on-one mapping of interventions both within the North-Eastern region and in the neighborhood is carried out.

He said that the Agreement on Land Border Crossing which was one of the seven Agreements/MoU signed during the recent visit of Minister of External Affairs, Smt. Sushma Swaraj to Myanmar on 10th&11th May 2018 last is a landmark in bilateral relations between the two countries as it will enable people from both countries to cross the land border with passport and visa, including for accessing health and education services, pilgrimage and tourism. He added that the MoU on restoration of pagodas underlines the enduring cultural and historical links between the two countries.

Mein cited that age-old cultural and historical bonds can be invariably revived by translating these policies into reality by the Govt as there exists racial, linguistic and cultural similarities among the people of North East India and those of South East Asia.

He further stressed on straightway step forward for the up-gradation of communications in this part of the region citing that with better road communications, networking facility and other peripheral sector, there will be further enhancement of trade and will usher in people to people contact and cultural exchange from both sides leading to strengthening the bond between the two countries.

He also suggested for a bilateral dialogue with Myanmar for improving border security and impede drug trafficking especially opium from across the borders. He reiterated to consider opening up of the Stilwell road up to Myanmaras it would be mutually beneficial to both the countries and facilitate trans-border trade and tourism.

He further said to operationalize the India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway into a robust transportational network and to strengthened the roads leading uptoTamu-Moreh which would help to realize the true potential of North Eastern region. He said there is also an urgentneed to take up the Lumla (in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh) to Tashigang (in Bhutan) road for strengthening the border trades between the two countries.

He also pressed for establishing a Hospital with modern state-of art facilities in the TCL region for the benefit of people living on both sides of the border which will act as a goodwill gesture and also benefit the people of the area where existing medical facilities are far from satisfactory.

Mein also pressed for creation of Integrated Check Posts at the border with proper security and custom facilities. Opening of Border Haats may also be considered in the feasible locations to facilitate and boost trans- border trade.

He also made a plea to the Govt of India for early action for re-opening of Land Customs Station, Nampong (Pangsau Pass) with required infrastructure and also for posting of a Customs Officer which will not only benefit the State of Arunachal Pradesh but also the entire North East India and also examine opening up of more Land Custom Stations across Indo-Mynmar Border.

Mein further said that the tourism sector could also be the fulcrum of Act East Policy and the Northeast Tourism should take advantage of the brisk Tourism business happening in our Southeast Asia. He suggested that The North East Tourism Development Council (NETDC) on behalf of all the State Tourism Departments and Tour Operators of Northeast region should enter in a MoU with Tourism Authorities and Tour Operator Associations of the ASEAN countries to make Tour packages connecting the whole NER and ASEAN.

He said, “Arunachal Pradesh is the seat of ancient Buddhist traditions at Tawang and there is a scope of promotion of a new Buddhist Tourism Network to attract tourists from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to Buddhist pilgrimage centres in Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, even beyond to Gaya and Lumbini’.He added that the development of eco tourism, wellness tourism, adventure tourism and spiritual tourism in the state would help provide huge employment opportunities to the people of the state”.Later, the Deputy Chief Minister accompanied by the Chief Secretary, SatyaGopal also attended the Ministerial Session chaired by the Union Minister of External Affairs, SmtSushmaSwaraj at Hotel theOberoi, New Delhi in which Ministers, Ambassadors, Heads of Delegations of ASEAN countries and Chief Ministers from North East Region also attended.The two days programme of Delhi Dialoque X which begins today willfocus on Strengthening India – Maritime Cooperation and deliberations on numerous broad topics viz., Role of North East in Act-East:Forging Connectivity with ASEAN, Strengthening Socio-Cultural Links, India-ASEAN Partnership and Emerging Global Order, Maritime Cooperation: a new framework for India-ASEAN Partnership, Development Cooperation: Strengthening the ASEAN-India Partnership, ASEAN-India Trade, Investment and Technology are being made in the Plenary Sessionsby the Businessman, Industrialists, Policy Makers & Experts and Parallel Session on SMEs & Regional Development and e-Commerce & Digital Connectivity will also be held.

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