NEW DELHI: On November 23, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was highlighting India’s ‘Act East Policy’ in Singapore, his government back here was crafting the action plan that would transform the subcontinent’s relations with its immediate and extended neighbours.
The renewed emphasis on India’s engagement in East Asia is intended to cultivate trade, find common cultural ground and create strategic rebalance beyond the symbolic. Top officials in the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) said the north-eastern states hold the key to economic and cultural integration with neighbours and a five-point action plan has been prepared to realise the PM’s commitment. The importance of the region is further increased since it provides the critical link for the Asian Highway project that will connect Asia with Europe.
The ministry, headed by Jitendra Singh, who is also Minister of State of for Prime Minister Office, has decided to develop Border Haats along India-Bangladesh, India-Myanmar and India-China borders besides upgrading the Land Custom Stations and Integrated Check Posts. The Modi government is also planning to develop banking services, including ATMs, crucial to promote trades.
The government action plan reviewed by The Sunday Standard reveals that an appropriate authority will be constituted by the government for costing of items that will be traded along the border. Fixing up the rates of transaction of all the items would be an essential part for the success of the border trades and will be able to create the balance. Since the similar initiatives on the part of neighbouring nations would also be essential for ‘Border Haats’, the DONER Ministry has been asked to start a political dialogue with counterparts in Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and Thailand.