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Conrad K Sangma
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North-East can take lead in Act East Policy: Conrad K Sangma

Staff Correspondent

Shillong, July 19: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said that North-eastern states could take a lead in the promotion of the Act East Policy and further engage with neigbouring nations and the larger ASEAN region to promote trade, commerce and cultural relations at the 10th Edition of Delhi Dialogue in New Delhi.

He spoke in presence of MoS for External Affairs VK Singh and Chief Minister of the NE States, officials from GoI and state governments.

The dialogue offers an occasion to update the agenda already set in the Act East Policy for establishing robust linkages with ASEAN countries.

The Chief Minister said, “Putting a robust policy framework in position is essential to reap the outcomes and benefits of such relation as enunciated by our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. This Delhi Dialogue gives an opportunity for the people of the NER to express their aspirations for boosting trade and cultural relations with ASEAN countries.”

“Connectivity in the form of roads, railways and airways linking the State to the ASEAN countries is vital for growth and development. The Chief Minister felt that the plan for reopening of the old Stilwell road from Ledo in Assam to Kunming, Yunan Province of China via Myanmar covering a length of 1736 Kms, will go a long way in boosting up the volumes of cross-border trade between the NE States and the ASEAN countries.

He told the gathering that Meghalaya has accorded top priority in providing all-weather road connectivity and accessibility to market centres, border haats, tourist destinations, production centres and rural settlements to incentivize farmers and producers to augment production and export their products to international markets. “This priority sector requires full-scale development for promotion of trade, tourism, cultural exchange and technology transfer”. The Chief Minister felt that airports in Meghalaya – Shillong Airport at Umroi and Baljek Airport near Tura connecting Meghalaya with neighboring countries could play a vital role for connecting the region with promotion of exports and imports.