New Delhi [India], May 28 (ANI): Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal advocated for ecologically responsible economic growth in the Southeast Asian region at the Special Plenary session in the 3rd edition of the NADI dialogue organised by Asian Confluence in Guwahati on Saturday.
The Union Minister highlighted the time tested and historical ties that Northeast India has built with the Southeast Asian countries along with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. "The maritime routes via Ganga, Brahmaputra and Mekong have always played a pivotal role in building an economic rationale for the region to grow apart from other socio-cultural influences."
He also spoke about the role played by the great Chaolung Sukapha in building the greater Assamese society and how his endeavours eventually led to the foundation of the state of Assam.
Addressing the gathering, Sonowal said, "Our shared history and familiar conditions have created a common ground to build a peaceful and sustainable future. The Indian government is deeply committed to working towards its ambitious Act East Policy, as envisaged by our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, to advance our shared values and legacy for the benefit of humanity, peace, stability and prosperity."
"With evolving global realities, the engines of economic growth are moving forwards. We have an opportunity here to become partners as the Indian Ocean becomes the centre of the emerging 'Age of Asia'. This new awakening is a recognition of our interlinked destinies, interdependence for a cleaner environment and our belief in shared opportunities. We, who live in and around our Indian Ocean, must own and bear primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the region,'' he added.
Speaking on the Act East policy of the Centre, the Union Minister said that the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to act for a better tomorrow.
"The tactical shift from Look East to Act East policy of the government is a testament to this vision. Our government remains deeply committed to this policy and, at the heart of this, are the ASEAN countries. Deeper economic integration with the dynamic South-East Asian Nations is an important aspect of our Act East Policy. To this effect, we are getting closely intertwined in a web of co-prosperity through an intricate network of rail, road, air and maritime links," the Union Minister said.
He further said, "We are also working to revive waterways in India and use them aggressively for cargo and passenger traffic as it saves cost & environmentally sound means of transport. We have made impressive strides in using the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP) to transport heavy cargo. This has also benefitted our neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan to access the Indian Ocean. Maritime transportation helps strengthen economic integration. I call upon all of you to initiate steps to augment infrastructure and capacity at all major ports. We all have to take time-bound initiatives to reduce the structural gap in terms of maritime and shipping infrastructure."
Speaking on the premise of economic growth riding on ecological balance, Sonowal emphasised on 'Blue Economy' concept.
"A related aspect is the emergence of the 'Blue Economy' as a promising new pillar of prosperity in the region, with immense economic and employment potential. India is seeking a more cooperative and integrated future for the region through the development of the ocean-based blue economy. A distinct feature of the Blue Economy lies in harnessing of marine resources for economic and social development and environmental sustainability without undermining the conservation and restocking aspects of these finite natural resources," he added. (ANI)