India's finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during the conclave in Guwahati

Speaking at the NADI 3 Asian Confluence River Conclave 2022 in Guwahati, India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 30 said that the connectivity with Bangladesh and other South East Asian nations can be built and developed culturally in terms of riverine civilisation.

The finance minister also appreciated the organisers for focusing on the key areas for development.

“Not just this region but the connectivity with the entire South-East Asian nations can be built and developed culturally in terms of the civilisation… riverine civilisation, we have so much in common and we have also to leverage it so that people to people contact gets built up,” Sitharaman said while delivering her speech on the concluding day of the conclave.

“Government of India has fully committed to our neighbourhood first policy as much as developing Northeast as the Gateway to the entire South-East Asian nations.”

The union finance minister has also appreciated the organisers – Asian Confluence – for focusing on the five Cs which are – commerce, culture, connectivity, conservation and capacity building.

“The organisers have kept five Cs as its focus areas. I was so impressed that they could pick up all that Cs and actually these Cs focus on those critical areas in which enough focus has to be given. If NADI and the name itself is talking about inter-connectivity, it certainly builds on culture and commerce,” she added.

Sitharaman further added: “So these five Cs give us the five pillars that this conclave will have to focus on. These Cs essentially capture all the areas which are so critical for our Northeast.”

The union finance minister also mentioned the government of India’s projects to enhance the connectivity in Northeast India and its neighbouring countries. She said the Centre is implementing various rail, road and air connectivity projects worth Rs 1,34,200 crore in the Northeast.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who delivered the special remarks shared the vision of the state government of developing Assam as a river cruise hub in Asia.

“We’ve made our best efforts to give tangible shape to our connectivity with Bangladesh and ASEAN nations through road, rail and air,” Sarma said.

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