Asian Confluence in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, India hosted a one-day web-dialogue on the theme- Development of North Eastern Indian Region: Indo-Japan Collaboration for Connectivity, Commerce, Capacity Building, Culture and Conservation.
The inaugural session was addressed by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Japanese Ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki and chaired by M.P Bezbaruah, former member of North Eastern Council.
In his speech, Shringla spelt out in detail a portfolio of projects that are underway in the region with Japanese collaboration including the upcoming Dhubri -Phulbari Bridge which is going to be the longest bridge over the Brahmaputra.
Referring to the Act East Forum, a unique mechanism between India and Japan he said, “We also utilize the Act East Forum to share best practices, and explore new avenues of cooperation. Healthcare, skill development, and sustainable development are some promising areas.”
Suzuki said that “Yaramaika” or the spirit of “let’s give it a try” and a spirit of “let’s do it” can catapult growth led by entrepreneurial minds from the region. He recalled his latest visits and the marked similarities of Japan to the region. He underscored the need for such dialogues to furthermore intellectual exchanges between India and Japan.
The web-dialogue aimed to highlight the key importance of Indo-Japan collaboration for developing a secure and prosperous North Eastern region in the convergence of India’s “Act East Policy”, and “Neighborhood First Policy”, towards a vibrant Bay of Bengal region and realising a common vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.
The web-dialogue was participated by policymakers, academics and practitioners from Japan and India. K. Matsumoto Chief representative JICA, Keiichi Onazawa, policy Director, JETRO, Masahiro Kawai, Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia and the University of Tokyo, Dr. Koiichi Fujita from Kyoto University, Umezaki So, IDE-JETRO, Dr. Prabir De, Professor, ASEAN-India Centre, Dr. Nanigopal Mahanta, Guwahati University along with many academics from several universities in North-East India were amongst the speakers.
Dr. K.K. Dwivedi, Principal Secretary of Assam Act East Cell, highlighted that the establishment of the Act East policy department by the Assam government has helped Assam emerge as a centre-stage for Act East policy.
Moses Chalai, Secretary, North Eastern Council in his address underlined that in addition to other ongoing sectors, collaboration on water management between India and Japan would be welcome.
The day-long web-dialogue discussed various developmental issues and future opportunities for further India-Japan collaboration in Northeast India through three-session panel discussions.