GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said his government was striving to position the state as the expressway and gateway to the ASEAN bloc against the backdrop of the Centre’s Act East policy.
Inaugurating a conclave on Act East through Northeast in the presence of ambassadors and high commissioners of ASEAN countries here on Friday, Sarma said the development narrative generated by the Act East policy had given new hope to people of the Northeast to align themselves with the Centre’s development initiatives.
He claimed the Centre, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had put a renewed thrust on the Act East policy which resulted in fast-paced growth and brought about a paradigm shift to the development narrative of the Northeast.
He also said that the conclave was aimed at brainstorming on various aspects of the Act East policy and strengthening the roadmap for leveraging Assam’s geo-strategic location to use the state as a springboard for economic cooperation, enhancing connectivity and addressing the issues for seamless movement of trade and investment.
“The PM, whose aim is to ‘Act East’ and ‘act fast’ for Northeast, has given new hope, energy and force to people of the Northeast. The PM has taken the central government to the doorsteps of the Northeast with several development projects,” Sarma said.
He also said the Centre’s continued attention to the Northeast proved the region was not the periphery of India but had the potential to become the link for trade and commerce with the fastest emerging nations of Southeast Asia.
The Assam government is working to position the state as the gateway and the expressway to ASEAN and Southeast Asia, he said, adding that they are also working hard to make Assam an industrial hub.
Replying to a query from High Commissioner of Singapore to India Simon Wie Kuen, the Assam CM said the parameters of Guwahati would be expanded as he expected Singapore’s cooperation in developing the city to accommodate the increasing demands of people from other states of the Northeast and outside.