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Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein for road, rail routes to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Our Correspondent

Itanagar, July 20: Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein has stressed on the need for opening of road and rail routes to neighbouring South East Asian countries through North-east India saying that it will provide a boost to economic development of the region.

“As part of the Act East policy, the Centre is focusing on reducing the isolation syndrome of the NE region by improving connectivity through road, rail, telecom, power and waterway sectors and making it the gateway to South East Asia,”Mein said while addressing the special plenary session ‘Roundtable with CMs of North Eastern India’, at New Delhion Thursday, an official communique informed here today. The 10th Delhi Dialogue was chaired by Union Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd) VK Singh.

Highlighting the steps taken by the Centre, Mein stated that the North-East Region of India can be a hub to facilitate development cooperation across the border with countries in the immediate neighbourhood like, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan and even with those located a little beyond like Cambodia, Laos PDR and Vietnam.
He said the mutual benefit accruing to India from such development cooperation activities will spill over in a more than proportionate manner to the NE States. The Deputy CM stressed on furthering efforts to fructify establishment of clear convergence with India’s Act East Policy which could be achieved only when a thorough ground level one-on-one mapping of interventions both within the NE region and in the neighbourhood 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 External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Myanmar in May 2018 is a landmark in bilateral relations between the two countries as it would enable people from both countries to cross the land border with passport and visa, including for accessing health and education services, pilgrimage and tourism. Mein added that the MoU on restoration of pagodas underlines the enduring cultural and historical links between the two countries.
He further stressed on straightaway step forward for the up-gradation of communications in 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 border. He reiterated to consider opening of the Stilwell road up to Myanmar as it would be mutually beneficial to both the countries and facilitate trans-border trade and tourism.

The Deputy CM further advocated operationalizing the India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway into a robust transportation network and strengthening the roads leading up to Tamu-Moreh which would help realize the true potential of North Eastern region.