Khandu bats for airports in NE to connect ASEAN region
Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday suggested steps to connect Northeast with ASEAN countries.
Speaking at the second ASEAN-India Youth Summit being held at Guwahati in Assam, Khandu said that ASEAN region and Northeast having less aerial distance, air service from at least six airports across the region could be started, an official communiqué informed here.
Khandu said the summit should be held as a calendar event and in different locations across the Northeast. “Way forward to such summits is to build greater cultural exchanges and strengthen trade ties,” the chief minister pointed out.
Speaking to the youths participants from ASEAN countries, Khandu requested them to visit different parts of Northeast to know the region better.
Speaking at the event organized by India Foundation and Ministry of External Affairs, Khandu spoke on the cultural diversity and geographical vastness of Arunachal. He said Northeast is often mistaken as one cultural entity, but even a single state like Arunachal has more than 26 tribes and 100 sub tribes.
“Arunachal is making tremendous progress in improving air, rail, digital and road connectivity. Earlier the State used to have lowest density of road in the country but now under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, roads are reaching remote corners of the State through different central schemes,” Khandu disclosed. On air connectivity, the Chief Minister said that all seven Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) built during 1960s have been rebuilt and operationalised.
“Once airport in Itanagar comes up, the ALGs along with one civilian airport at Tezu will be put to use to start air connectivity services within the State using fixed wing aircraft,” Khandu said.
The Chief Minister also spoke on the enormous potential of the State offered in the sector of tourism, hydropower, agriculture and horticulture. He said state has vast land resources which are yet to be exploited to its full extent.
Khandu also took part in the interactive session on the topic ‘Northeast as India’s Gateway to ASEAN’.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his Tripura counterpart Biplab Deb also attended the summit, the communiqué added.
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