NE will become torchbearer of new India: Singh

NEW DELHI, 20 Mar: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said the northeastern states will become the torchbearer of new India as the country prepares to celebrate the 75th year of its independence in 2022.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), he said that in the post-Covid era, India’s economic resurgence will not be complete unless it takes care of the vast unexplored potential and resources of the northeastern region.

Singh, the MoS for the Development of North East Region (DoNER), said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who gave the vision ‘Act East’ soon after assuming power in 2014, thus imparting a new push to the approach and focus to relations with the neighbouring countries, which was earlier known as the Look East Policy.

Addressing the seminar, ‘Act East Policy: Enhancing trade infrastructure and connectivity in the northeastern region’ organized by the ICRIER, he said the Northeast will be the new engine of growth for new India.

Ever since Modi took over as prime minister, he has accorded a special priority to the development of the northeastern region of India, Singh said.

He said this also assumes importance because if India has to successfully engage with the countries across the eastern borders, it must have a strong basis in areas proximal to eastern borders, which comprise the northeastern states.

With its geographical position and rich natural as well as agro-climatic resources, Singh said, access to the growing ASEAN market is essential for optimum utilization of trade and business opportunities.

Singh said the government’s focus on Act East, which led to the development of the Northeast region and completion of an array of projects like grandest of bridges, improving inland water transport, airports, rail and roads networks, has changed the narrative of news emanating from the northeastern region in the past few years.

India’s preemptive response to Covid-19 and outreach towards other nations has enhanced bonding and trust with its neighbours, he added.

“Witnessing our commitment and continuous efforts towards the development of the northeastern region, ASEAN countries are now looking at strengthening trade ties with the region,” Singh said. (PTI)