GUWAHATI, Jan 20 – Despite the much-hyped Look East Policy and talks about connecting North-East (NE) India to the South East Asian (SEA) countries, ground realities are not in favour of the region. Whereas States like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have benefitted more from investments from SEA countries, the potential of the NE region for trade and investment remains grossly underutilized.
Observing this while delivering the foundation lecture of Assam Institute of Management (AIM), eminent writer and columnist Sanjoy Hazarika said that despite the separate policy and packages for the development of the region, much remains to be done to get that desired development.
The topic of the lecture was ‘Between Peace Development and Opportunity: Bridging the Gaps.’ “Unless the Union and the State governments provide good overall security to the trading groups, the trade policy could not be fully implemented. Moreover, the Look East Policy is hardly understood by even some senior bureaucrats,” he added.
Speaking about the strategic developments in the Yunan province of China, he said that under a bridge-head approach, massive rail and road projects have been taken up in the Yunan and many other strategic projects are going on to ensure Chinese dominance in the SEA region.
“India can also adopt this bridge-head approach for the North-east, but due to the lack of idea and interest, New Delhi has not been able to tap this potential. With lack of development, poor infrastructure and unfulfilled basic needs, how can we connect NE to the SEA countries?” he said.
Hazarika also spoke about the bandh culture, movement of funds, migration, health and environment.
Sanjoy Hazarika is Saifuddin Kichelew Chair and professor and director at the Centre for North East Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He is also the managing trustee of Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) in the Northeast.
The Assam Institute of Management has been organizing foundation lectures in which distinguished personalities are invited to deliver the lecture. In the past, persons like Dr Scarlett Epstein from University of Sussex, Dr Subir Choudhuri from IIM, Kolkata, Professor C Rangarajan, former Governor of RBI among others have delivered the foundation lecture of AIM.