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Govt has started process of setting up land ports in northeast: Kiren Rijiju

India has begun the process of linking its remote northeast with the rest of the country, junior home minister Kiren Rijiju said, adding the country also needs to stop seeing the region as a disconnected entity.

“India has neglected the eastern part but it isn’t a deliberate attempt to do so. It can’t be blamed on a particular government or a group of people,” Rijiju stated.

Rijiju also added that while two percent of the northeast was connected with mainland India and the remaining 98% shared borders the neighbouring countries, the union home ministry has flagged off the process of setting up land ports in the region.

“The home ministry has opened up channels to link boundaries and identify few places to start land ports in the northeast region. It, however, won’t be as easy as airports or sea ports because the other country should also have an equal share in that project,” Rijiju added.

The minister also added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had changed the “Look East” policy to “Act East,” with the former “lacking action.”

“The Look East policy lacked action and PM Modi felt it needed action. The PM has also said that for India to progress as a whole, it is imperative for the east and the northeast to also progress. This region is part of the entire south East Asian structure,” Rijiju said.

Rijiju’s comments come ahead of India hosting the prime ministers of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries on 26 January,

The objective of Act East Policy is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, thereby providing enhanced connectivity to the states of north eastern region including Arunanchal Pradesh with other countries in the neighbourhood.

Rijiju said the Indian diaspora in Myanmar had also been tapped to work in tandem with the Indian government toward the upliftment of the northeastern region.

Simultaneously, the government is working to promote culture, connectivity, and commerce between India and Asean countries, IT and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said while addressing the valedictory session on ‘The importance of the North East and eastern region of India for the Act East Policy’ at India- Asean partnership @25 event on Wednesday.

Prasad said that the BPO scheme under the IT ministry is rapidly expanding in north-east states. Some of the locations where BPOs have commenced operations in the north east are Guwahati, Jorhat, Kohima, Imphal, he added.
Source: LiveMint

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