By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 7: Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal met Laos PDR Ambassador to India Southam Sakonhninhorm at his office chamber and discussed a gamut of issues on strengthening bilateral ties between India and Laos, more particularly concerning Assam.
Sonowal said that Assam is keen to work with Laos in the fields of trade and commerce, cultural exchange, sports and strengthening road connectivity through Myanmar. Sonowal asked the Ambassador into which sectors Laos can tie up with Assam. The Ambassador informed the Chief Minister that Assam can tie up with Laos in the fields of agriculture, irrigation, organic farming and hydro-electricity and there was huge potential for investments in these sectors.
Terming the 59-year long diplomatic relationship between Laos and India as cordial, Sakonhninhorm said there was enormous potential for investments in various sectors as both the countries are ASEAN members. The Ambassador said that Laos was keen to invest in tourism and mining sectors in which Assam has enormous potential. In course of the discussion, Sakonhninhorm extended invitation to the Chief Minister to visit Laos.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the avenues for trade and commerce and cultural relations vis-a-vis socio-economic development would open up by strengthening connectivity between Assam and Laos. Sonowal underlined the need for establishing ties in the sectors of sports and culture initially and then subsequently expand it to other fields of cooperation. The Chief Minister requested the Indian Ambassador to Laos, PDR, Ravi Shankar Aisola, who was present at the meeting, to take the lead.
Asserting that the Central Government has accorded top priority towards the development of Assam and the North East by formulating the Act East Policy, Sonowal said the opening up of the Stilwell Road, for which efforts are on, would act as a catalyst for more growth and development in the region.
The meeting was attended, among others, by MP Rajen Gohain, Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, Chairman & MD, HSMM Group, Laos, Habib Md. Choudhury and Secretary, Assam Football Association, Ankur Dutta.