Guwahati (Assam) [India], May 27 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said that the centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put a renewed thrust on Act East policy which has resulted in fast-paced growth and brought about a paradigm shift to development narrative in Assam and other Northeastern states.
Inaugurating a conclave on Act East through Northeast in presence of the ambassadors and high commissioners of ASEAN countries in Guwahati, Assam CM said that, in the backdrop of Act East policy, his government is striving to position Assam as the expressway and gateway to ASEAN bloc.
"The conclave which is a part of several initiatives of the Act East policy Affairs Department, Assam government to brainstorm on various aspects of Act East policy and strengthen the roadmap for leveraging the opportunity of Assam's geostrategic location to use the state as a springboard for economic cooperation, enhancing connectivity and addressing the issues for seamless movement of trade and investment. Since 2014, under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the Northeastern region has witnessed a rapid transformation" added Sarma.
The Prime Minister whose aim is to 'Act East' and 'act fast' for India's northeast, has given new hope, energy and force to the people of the Northeast. "The Prime Minister has taken the Central government to the doorsteps of Northeast India with several development projects," Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
The Chief Minister also said that the Centre's continued attention to the Northeast and its people has proved that the region is not the periphery of India, it is in fact the centre of the fastest emerging nations of South East Asia which has the potential to become the link for the emergence of trade and commerce with these nations.
"The Assam government is, therefore, working to position Assam as the gateway and the expressway to ASEAN and South East Asia. The government is also working hard to make Assam the industrial hub which can serve not only the region but also the population of BBN and ASEAN countries," Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Speaking on the Northeastern region's geographical proximity with ASEAN countries, the Assam Chief Minister said - "We have no less than 5300 km of international borders with a host of countries like Myanmar, China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Northeast is truly India's Gateway to Southeast Asia, and I believe the emerging connectivity with the ASEAN nations will play a defining role in enhancing our shared prosperity".
He also said that, over the past seven-eight years, India's engagement with the ASEAN countries has grown exponentially.
"Trade relations have matured, investments have grown substantially and connectivity between the Northeast and Southeast Asia is fast becoming a reality. Law and order in Assam have improved considerably. Armed Forces Special Power Act has been removed. There has been phenomenal development of connectivity in the state including the construction of bridges over the Brahmaputra to make transportation seamless between the North and South Bank of the river. Assam is also keen on promoting its biodiversity and producing green power to lay a roadmap for the development of the state in sync with its nature. Under UDAN International the state will be connected to at least six countries of the ASEAN bloc. So, Assam has presented a congenial atmosphere for large scale investment, as the Government of Assam is very eager to start a new economic collaboration with ASEAN countries," the Assam Chief Minister said.
He also reiterated that the government of Assam is also working wholeheartedly to forge solid and sustainable cooperation with the ASEAN nations.
In reply to the High Commissioner of Singapore to India Simon Wie Kuen, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the parameter of Guwahati will be expanded as he expects Singapore's cooperation in developing the city to accommodate the increasing demands of the people from other Northeastern states and outside.
Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary while speaking on the occasion presented the prevailing landscape in Assam which holds immense potential for investment.
He highlighted the infrastructural development in Assam in terms of roadways, railways, airways and internet connectivity.
"Prior to the announcement of Act East Policy, Assam was considered the last part of India. However, the Act East Policy has changed the misnomer, as Assam is now regarded as the Centre of India's relations with the ASEAN countries," Patowary said.
The minister also requested the ASEAN ambassadors and high commissioners to send their business delegations to Assam for G2B and B2B meetings.
Member, PM's Economic Advisory Council Sanjeev Sanyal, Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs Geetika Srivastava, High Commissioner, Singapore to India Simon Wie Kuen, Chairman FICCI North East Advisory Council Ranjit Barthakur also spoke on the occasion.
Later on the sidelines of the conclave, Chief Minster Dr. Sarma also held a discussion with Sanjeev Sanyal on different ideas and a host of issues pertaining to Assam's economic growth and development. (ANI)