SE Asian countries is one of India’s most important agendas: K Sangma

Shillong, Nov 22 (Agency) Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said connectivity of India’s Northeastern States to other East Asian and South Eastern Asian countries is one of the most important agendas of the government. Inaugurating the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Sub-regional Capacity Building Workshop for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) Connectivity, Sangma has been advocating from the very beginning that Act East Policy has to be zoned. “History suggests that there was a lot of trade between these regions pre-Independence and that there is a huge potential of trade and connectivity in this region so we need to correct and fix all the barriers that have stopped the trade and connection,” the Chief Minister said.

He also underscored that if the North East region moves forward collectively, it can contribute to the national goal of multiplying the economy of the country and iterated that there cannot be a generic Act East Policy. “I have been advocating from the very beginning that Act East Policy has to be zoned. We need to have specific zone-wise strategies to be able to take the Act East Policy forward,” he emphasised. Sangma said that the Meghalaya government is keen on taking advantage of the “low-lying fruits” that will boost trade and connectivity. “Simplifying policies so that people don’t face difficulties in carrying out trade, making use of existing infrastructures like the Integrated Check Posts, improving road connectivity at the borders are low-lying fruits that will make a difference,” he said.

Sangma also said that such interactions between countries will help in assessing and resolving issues. “I hope that this program is just the beginning of a very large and transformational exercise,” he said. Director, of South and Southwest Asia Sub-Regional Office, Mikiko Tanaka said that Meghalaya’s geographical location in the BBIN and the momentum at which Meghalaya is accelerating trade and development is the perfect setting to host the workshop to promote connectivity among the BBIN countries. She said that the workshop is part of ESCAP’s mandated work program to support the improvement of cross-border connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.