Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Monday said the northeast region of the country will emerge as a great business and tourist destination after the coronavirus pandemic blows over.
Addressing a virtual meeting with officials of British High Commission, he invited the British government and the private sector for exploiting the huge business potential in the northeast.
“India and the UK, the two vibrant democracies, enjoy a mutually rewarding business relationship and can work together in exploring and exploiting new opportunities in the northeastern region,” said Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel.
He said new paradigms will emerge post-COVID, with a potential for new breakthroughs in economy, trade, scientific research and several other diverse areas in the northeast region and it will be a win-win proposition for both India and the UK.
According to a Personnel Ministry statement, Singh said after the pandemic ends, the region will emerge as a great business and tourist destination.
He welcomed the British Council”s proposal for collaboration in the education sector for teaching science and mathematics in all the eight states of the region and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed soon with the northeastern council to take the collaboration to a new high.
The council also expressed willingness to work with universities and technology institutes of the region, mainly IIT-Guwahati, the personnel ministry statement said.
He said the northeastern region has a special role to play in the promotion of trade and business relations with ASEAN as it is the gateway to the growing economies of South East Asian nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed the ”Look East” policy to ”Act East” to take multilateral cooperation to newer heights, Singh said.
About connectivity issues, he said in the last six years, there has been a significant development in terms of road, rail and air connectivity, facilitating movement of goods and persons not only across the region but also across the country.
He recalled that that the Indo-Bangladesh treaty for exchange of enclaves has cleared the decks for ease of business, ease of movement and ease of commuting.
“Very soon, we are also going to have a train to Bangladesh from Tripura heralding a new chapter and opening new vistas in the development of this region by providing the entire region access to seaports,” Singh said.
He also underlined the continued focus of the Indian government in exploring alternative modes of transport that is inland waterways — from Brahmaputra to the Bay of Bengal — connecting with other countries of the region as a cheaper option for trade, business and transportation.
This will boost trade across borders, especially with eastern neighbours, the Union minister said, adding that sectors such as horticulture, tea, bamboo, piggery, sericulture, spices like ginger and citrus-fruit have great export potential.
According to the personnel ministry statement, British officials have greatly appreciated the handicrafts, fruits, vegetables and spices in the northeastern states and expressed their willingness to brand them and sell the same in global market.
Singh said, in the last six years, the northeastern region had made up for several lapses of the past because for the first time it received equal attention on par with the other regions of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“This has not only instilled confidence among the people but also raised the capacity to engage with other parts of India as well as the countries across the eastern borders at different levels,” he added. (PTI)