Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and other dignitaries during the business meet | CMO, Assam

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Northeast can play a pivotal role in strengthening Indo-ASEAN and Indo-BBN relationship not only as a means of being the gateway to the South East Asian Nations but as a springboard to facilitate bilateral trades and commerce with these countries.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

Speaking as the chief guest in the 2nd Northeast India buyer-seller meet organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with the Union ministry of external affairs at NEDFi House in Guwahati on July 28, chief minister Sarma said that since Northeast is located in the middle of the fastest emerging nations of South East Asia, the region has the potential to act as the springboard for the emergence of trade and commerce with these nations.

He said that the long international borders that the region shares with South East Asian and BBN countries including China give it a unique geographical advantage for being a catalyst for the development of trade and commerce with these countries.

Presenting Assam before the international delegates in the meeting, the chief minister said that Assam is the largest economy in the Northeastern region.

“The state has the reputation of being an industrial state because of its prolific tea, oil, coal and tourism industry. Assam is one of the biodiversity hot spots of the country with its 312 notified reserve forests, five national parks and 20 wildlife sanctuaries. Taking into consideration of its well-established petrochemical industry, the state can take the lead in producing green plastics which are in huge demand in developed markets,” Himanta Biswa Sarma was quoted as saying in a press statement issued by the CM office.

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He also said that Assam is home to some of the rarest wildlife species in the world along with rich flora and fauna which offer immense scope for wildlife tourism and investment.

The chief minister said that the organic products of the state such as ginger, lemon, king chilli (bhut jolokia), red rice, black rice, joha, pineapple, orange, jackfruit and banana among others have huge export potential.

Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the improved connectivity between India and South East Asian nations has benefitted the Northeastern region greatly. He said that the bilateral and multilateral connectivity initiatives like the Trilateral Highway that goes from India to Thailand via Myanmar have given rise to new hope.

He said that the survey and planning work on the Imphal-Moreh Railway line is underway. The setting up of the Northeast economic corridor connecting markets in Bangladesh and the ASEAN region is also being actively contemplated to give a fillip to trade and commerce.

Pointing at the illegal movement of goods from across the border, Sarma advocated for reworking on the custom tariff system for the mutual development of all.

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Thanking ICC and the union ministry for external affairs for organising the meet, the CM said that event will help in making NE a vibrant economy which would also be helpful in facilitating collective development of the region. The meet which was organised with a focus on countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Thailand and Laos would also help in creating an enabling environment for the stakeholders to showcase their inherent strengths before the buyers.

The meeting will be a way forward toward reviving the age-old ties between the Northeast and its neighbours.

Union minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, and North East Council member AK Gogoi also spoke during the inaugural ceremony of the meeting.

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