|Panel discussion on Act East Policy|
GUWAHATI, June 14 - The Look East Policy of India was launched by former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in 1991 with the main aim to shift the country’s trading focus from the West and neighbours to the booming SE Asian countries. It was upgraded by the present government as the ‘Act East Policy’ at the East Asia Summit held in Myanmar in November 2014.
Connectivity to Southeast Asia through rail, train and air will boost trade and commerce and make India an economic power. It will also renew old cultural ties and the North East will become the centrestage of activities. This was stated by Sajjad Alam Deputy Secretary, Government of Assam, Industries & Commerce Department and Act East Policy Department while delivering the keynote address as the chief guest at a panel discussion, “Status of Act East Policy- Prospectives & Prospects with special reference to Northeast India” at the Royal Global University (RGU) here today, according to a press release issued here.
The panellists including Prof Rajib Handique, Prof MP Bezbaruah, Dr Rubul Patgiri and Farid Shah, discussed extensively the importance of trade ties with the South East Asian countries which still show cultural and linguistic similarities. Government should work together for an integrated market, especially infrastructure development in borders for trade through good rail, air and road links and institutional strengthening, they felt.
Civil society must work together to erase xenophobia by accepting people from neighbouring countries as 98 per cent of India’s borders are with different countries. Trade and commerce being the buzzword, the Act East Policy will assist in creating jobs in tourism, medical tourism, academic exchange, cultural relationships, food, textile, etc., the panellists further said.