GUWAHATI, Feb 3 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurating the 2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit here today underlined the need for mutual cooperation among the ASEAN countries for strengthening multilateral relations in the region.
Sonowal said in the present day world order, friendly relations among the 10 ASEAN countries and three BBN countries are of immense importance for promoting and strengthening mutual interests like trade and commerce, education, health, connectivity, sociocultural integration, etc.
The Chief Minister said many of the ASEAN capitals are within 2,000-km flying distance from Guwahati which is comparable to flying distance of Assam’s capital city to many Indian cities. With locational advantage of sharing over 4,500 km of international border, the northeastern region has all the potential of emerging as a new growth hub, he said.
Sonowal said infrastructural capacity of Guwahati that has been pitched to be the gateway to Southeast Asian countries is being upgraded considerably. He said the construction of an integrated terminal at the LGBI Airport involving a financial outlay of Rs 1,300 crore is going on in full swing. He also advocated that all ASEAN and BBN countries need to work as a family to realise the common agenda of the respective countries.
Sonowal also thanked the organisers India Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India for selecting Guwahati to host the summit. He extended his government’s full cooperation to make the summit a grand success and fulfil the avowed agenda of ASEAN-India partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity.
Union Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons said in view of xenophobic ideas that are taking a toll on the present day society, youth delegates from different ASEAN countries should think beyond “my own people, my own country” for a mutually tolerant all encompassing world order. Talking about the yogic philosophy that India has given to the world, the minister said it underscores “I want to be happy and others also need to be happy” and the philosophy should be followed everywhere.
Alphons said the ASEAN countries need to work together to realise the goal of the ASEAN-India collaborative year. He also said that India is famous for its tourism potential that has helped the country to earn nearly 234 billion dollars in the last financial year. He urged upon the foreign delegates to make an extensive tour to India’s Northeast and discover the region.
Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN Socio Cultural Community Kung Phoak said the presence of delegates from all ASEAN countries in the summit is the testimony to “our commitment to a shared goal that is mutual friendship and mutually agreeable initiatives”. He hoped that the summit would take the ASEAN-India strategic partnership to a new high.
The summit tag-lined ‘Connectivity: Pathway to Shared Prosperity’ has been largely attended by youth delegates from Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. It will conclude on February 7.