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India-Japan Act East Forum will be a milestone: Envoy

 NEW DELHI, Dec 6 - India-Japan Act East Forum will be a “milestone” for an enhanced relationship between his country and North Eastern Region of India, and reinforce the bilateral ties, Japanese envoy Kenji Hiramatsu said, reports PTI.

The ambassador said this in his address at the first meeting held on Tuesday in New Delhi under the newly established ‘Act East Forum’ which was set up to identify specific projects for economic development of North Eastern Region (NER).

“Indeed, I am sure that the Act East Forum will be a milestone for an enhanced relationship between Japan and North Eastern Region in India,” he said.

He emphasised that historically, Japan was related to the NE through the experience of the Battles of Imphal and Kohima during World Ward II.

During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India in September, both sides had signed a pact to establish the India-Japan Act East Forum.

“Furthermore, Japan is keen to expand business opportunities of Japanese companies in North Eastern Region so that we can directly share the economic profits with the local societies,” the envoy said in a statement.

The statement was handed out to a group of journalists from India and Japan, during Hiramatsu’s interaction with them at the Japanese Embassy here last night.

The Forum consists of all the “relevant Union Ministers and State Governments of North Eastern Region, and Embassy of Japan and all government-affiliated agencies in New Delhi from Japan’s side,” he added.

Hiramatsu said, “I am sure that this initiative will further expand our cooperation in the North Eastern Region, deepen friendship between Japan and this region, and reinforce Japan-India relationship further.”

Spl correspondent adds: The newly floated India-Japan Act East Forum will identify specific projects for economic modernisation of Northeastern region including those pertaining to connectivity, developmental infrastructure, industrial linkages as well as people-to-people contacts through tourism, culture and sports-related activities.

The Forum aims to provide a platform for India-Japan collaboration under the rubric of India’s “Act East Policy” and Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Besides the Ministry of External Affairs and Embassy of Japan, participants included representatives from DoNER, Department of Economics, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Home Affairs and States of NE, and Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan External Trade Organisation, Japan Foundation and Japan National Tourism Organisation from the Japanese side.

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