Cooperation and connectivity is key to economic progress: Assam CM Sarma
Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said that better cooperation and connectivity with judicious use of natural resources in a far-sighted and ecologically sound manner is the key for overall prosperity of the BBIN, ASEAN and BIMSTEC regions.
The Chief Minister said this at the valedictory session of “Asian Confluence River Conclave, 2022” in the presence of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Conclave was organized by “Asian Confluence” in collaboration with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Government of Assam at Guwahati on May 28 and 29, 2022 aiming at promoting sub-regional cooperation in the BBIN, ASEAN and BIMSTEC regions.
Underlining the importance of connectivity for boosting economic progress, Chief Minister Dr. Sarma said that enhancing connectivity should not be looked at building bridges, roads or waterways and airways alone.
He said that there is a need to go beyond physical connectivity infrastructures and equally focus on data corridors, education and tourism, energy and cultural links.
He also sought cooperation from countries of the region to strengthen bamboo value chains in the north-east and stressed on opening borders for peace and prosperity by setting up of Border Haats.
He further said that best efforts are being by the central and state government to give a tangible shape to connectivity with the ASEAN and Bangladesh through roadways, railways and airways.
He informed that riverine connectivity in the state is witnessing a remarkable change and under a World Bank project, state government is modernizing ports and vessels.
The Chief Minister also spoke about the potential in people to people connect, cultural exchanges, student exchanges and tourism and hoped to have meaningful future collaboration in these sectors.
Stating that due to the Act East Policy of the Government of India, the north eastern region is in the threshold of an unprecedented transition, Dr. Sarma observed that meaningful engagement on important areas of economy can be the game changer for the region.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the Guwahati Declaration, which was announced as part of North East Research Conclave 2022 held at IIT Guwahati recently.
Dr. Sarma said that the Guwahati Declaration has been crafted with a vision to foster science and technology education, promotion of research, encourage innovation, start-up eco system and entrepreneurship, and would be a multi-stakeholder platform in the northeast that would address societal problems in the region and beyond.
Minister of Act East Policy Affairs Chandra Mohan Patowary, Finance Minister Ajanta Neog, Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah, Chairman Governing Council of Asian Confluence MP Bezbaruah, Executive Director Sabyasachi Dutta and host of others were also present at the valedictory session of the Conclave.
(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)