Act East Policy Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary attends the inaugural session of the 'Act East through Northeast 2.0 - The Round Table Conference on Inter-Country Economic Corridor through Northeast of India for Inclusive Growth' in Guwahati

Building on the success of the previous conclave in 2022, the second instalment of the roundtable conference – Act East through Northeast 2.0 – The Round Table Conference on Inter-Country Economic Corridor through Northeast of India for Inclusive Growth – organized by the Act East Policy Affairs Department, Government of Assam, aimed to explore fresh opportunities presented by the Act East Policy for the Northeast region.

The event took place in Guwahati on February 16.

It also sought to develop a strategic framework for enhancing economic and cultural connections with Southeast Asian countries, with a focus on bolstering bilateral relations with neighbouring Bangladesh and Bhutan.

The roundtable served as a platform for government officials, experts, practitioners, and business leaders to explore potential opportunities arising from evolving connectivity among Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Assam.

Act East Policy Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary emphasized that the Act East Policy, under the stewardship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has revitalized India’s engagement with its Eastern neighbours. He highlighted a new era of trade, transit, and water resources management cooperation between India, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. Patowary also pointed out the rapid development in road infrastructure, regional airways connectivity, railways, waterways, and internet connectivity in Assam and Northeast, attributing it to implementing the Act East Policy.

“The Government of Assam, led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, is deeply committed to harnessing these natural endowments and transforming the state into an economic hub. Our policies focus on creating a business-friendly environment, facilitating ease of doing business, and developing world-class infrastructure to attract domestic and international investors.

“Sectors such as agriculture, food processing, handicrafts, tourism, and information technology are ripe for investment, bolstered by a young, skilled workforce and supportive government policies,” Patowary stated.

Patowary highlighted how Assam and Northeast have reaped significant economic benefits due to closer ties with Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Southeast Asian countries. He mentioned that the use of Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh will further strengthen waterways connectivity in the Northeast, benefiting both countries.

Furthermore, Patowary emphasized how Bangladesh can seize opportunities in potential sectors of Assam such as ethanol, methanol, plastic, and hydrocarbon to improve trade and business relations.

The roundtable featured a series of sessions, including special addresses by distinguished speakers such as Ruhul Amin, Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Guwahati and Manvendra Pratap Singh, Secretary, Act East Policy Affairs, Government of Assam.

Other notable speakers included Sudhakar Dalela, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Bhutan; Naveen Srivastava, Ambassador of India to Nepal; CSR Ram, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs; Satish Kumar Pandey, GM (Construction), NF Railway, among others.

The event also marked the release of a pivotal report titled ‘Inter-Country Economic Corridor Through Northeast of India for Inclusive Growth: Potential and Prospects’, providing a roadmap for sustainable and inclusive development in the region through the development of economic corridors in Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, passing through Assam (India).

During the daylong conference, various connectivity initiatives like the 58-km rail link between Gelephu in Bhutan and Kokrajhar in Assam, riverine linkages with Bangladesh, and various road and railway projects connecting the neighbouring countries were highlighted. Detailed discussions were held on ways to use evolving connectivity with neighbouring countries to create an economic corridor.


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