Press Release

CM attends Act East Policy interactive session of NE Chief Ministers at New Delhi Pitches for connectivity infrastructure with ASEAN countries at an early date

CM attends Act East Policy interactive session of NE Chief Ministers at New Delhi          Pitches for connectivity infrastructure with ASEAN countries at an early date

CM attends Act East Policy interactive session of NE Chief Ministers at New Delhi Pitches for connectivity infrastructure with ASEAN countries at an early date


Dispur, May 4: Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today attended the interactive session of the chief ministers of Northeastern states on Act East Policy that was chaired by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at New Delhi.

Saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put development of Northeast region at the heart of the Act East Policy which has greatly increased people to people contact, trade and other relations with the ASEAN countries, chief minister Sonowal in his speech elaborated on the positional advantage of the region to become the new growth hub of trade, tourism and cultural exchange taking advantage of over 4500 km of international boundary it shares with neighbouring countries.

Highlighting Assam government's initiatives such as Advantage Assam: Global Investors' Summit which resulted in investment commitment of Rs 79,000 crore by various investors, setting up of State Capital Region, endeavour for building twin tower World Trade Centers at Guwahati etc, Sonowal said that the conducive momentum for economic activities in the state and the region would result in opportunities in ASEAN market making the region a new engine of growth for the country.

Pitching strongly for improved connectivity and communication infrastructure for furthering relations with the South East Asian region, Sonowal called for improved airways, roadways, waterways, railways and information ways in this region. He also stated that starting of direct flights connecting the region with the capitals of South East Asian countries would play a vital role in making the region a lucrative destination for potential investors and he urged External Affairs Ministry to contribute an amount of Rs 100 crore from ASEAN India Fund for viability gap funding to start flights from Guwahati to Singapore, Dhaka, Bangkok, Mandalay or Yangon in addition to the 100 crore committed by Assam Government for the purpose.

The chief minister also spoke about the urgent need for early completion of the Asian Trilateral Highway as well as the reopening of the Stillwell Road upto Kunming in China and importance of connecting the waterways of Barak, Brahmaputra and Kushiyara rivers with Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh through dredging at an early date.

"Improved connectivity and infrastructure will lead to exponential growth in the tourism sector in the region in the days to come as North East India has a lot to offer on the tourism front. The region can also expect increased flow of patients from Southeast Asian countries to medical centres in Northeast like Guwahati and Imphal which will give fillip to employment as well as medical infrastructure in the region" the chief minister opined.

Thanking External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for taking personal initiative in setting up consulates of Bangladesh and Bhutan in Guwahati, the chief minister suggested that Ministry of External Affairs may think of hosting a festival of North East in each of the ASEAN countries to project the rich heritage, culture, handloom & handicrafts, industrial and tourism potential of all the North Eastern states. He also urged the ministry to simplify existing visa regime for facilitating free movement of people, including introduction of provisions like visa-on-arrival at North Eastern capitals and relaxing restricted area permit for ASEAN countries for visiting Northeast.

The chief minister also called for improved access to International Sub-marine Fibre-optic Cable Network internet landing station at Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh and he urged the central government to take initiatives to make the region a hub of IT and ITES by providing fast internet connectivity from this international gateway at Cox Bazaar. Lifting of restrictions on tradable items and up-gradation of international border trade centres like Sutarkandi and Moreh were some of the other key suggestion made by the chief minister.