DCM for strengthening security, promoting tourism along Indo-Myanmar border

NEW DELHI, Jul 19: Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein suggested holding a bilateral dialogue with Myanmar for improving border security and impeding trafficking of drugs, especially opium, from across the border.
Addressing the special plenary session of the 10th ‘Delhi Dialogue’ here on Thursday, Mein reiterated considering opening the Stilwell road up to Myanmar “as it would be mutually beneficial to both the countries and facilitate trans-border trade and tourism.”
The Northeast region can be a hub to facilitate development cooperation across the border with countries like Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and even with those located a little beyond, like Cambodia, Laos PDR & Vietnam, Mein said.
“The mutual benefit accruing to India from such development cooperation activities will spill over in a more than proportionate manner to the Northeastern states of India,” he said.
He also called for operationalizing the India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway and strengthening the roads leading up to Tamu-Moreh to help the NE region realize its full potential.
“There is also an urgent need to take up the Lumla (in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh) to Tashigang (in Bhutan) road for strengthening the border trades between the two countries,” Mein said.
He also pressed for creation of integrated check posts in the border areas, with proper security and custom facilities, and opening of border haats at feasible locations to boost trans- border trade.
Mein appealed to the central government to initiate steps for reopening the land customs station in Nampong (Pangsau Pass), with required infrastructure and a customs officer. He also urged the Centre to examine the feasibility of opening up more land customs stations along the Indo-Myanmar border.
Advocating establishing a hospital with modern facilities in the Tirap-Changlang-Longding region, Mein said such a hospital would benefit people living on both sides of the border.
“The tourism sector could also be the fulcrum of the Act East Policy,” Mein said. He suggested that the North East Tourism Development Council enter into an MoU with the tourism authorities and tour operator associations of the ASEAN countries to prepare tour packages connecting Northeast India and ASEAN countries.
“Arunachal Pradesh is the seat of ancient Buddhist traditions, in Tawang. There is scope for promoting a new Buddhist tourism network to attract tourists from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to Buddhist pilgrimage centres in Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, and even beyond to Gaya and Lumbini,” he said.
He said development of ecotourism, wellness tourism, adventure tourism and spiritual tourism in the state would help provide huge employment opportunities to the people of the state.
He lauded the Centre for giving “special attention and priority to the Northeastern region through the Act East Policy,” and claimed that it has “changed the mindset of the people of other parts of the world about the region.”
Later, Mein along with Chief Secretary Satya Gopal attended the ministerial session chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Ministers, ambassadors, heads of delegations of ASEAN countries, and chief ministers from the Northeast region also attended it.
The two-day ‘Delhi Dialogue’ is themed ‘Strengthening India – Maritime cooperation’. (PRO, DCM)