With 96 per cent of the borders of the North Eastern Region of India constituting international boundaries and in explicit recognition of the need to break the fetters of the geopolitical isolation of the region, it is necessary to factor in the foreign, defense, internal security and international trade policies of the Himalayan Region including the North East India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The immediate priority is to build the required infrastructure right up to the border areas, establishing connectivity and communication links to the cross-border points through which trade and economic exchanges with the countries neighboring the North Eastern Region of India.
Keeping this priority in mind, Myanmar Matters feels that as a publication, it could be providing a lot more to entire Himalayan region. It is with great pride that my team and I would be soon announcing several other publications dedicated to the North East Region of India, Bhutan and Bangladesh respectively. In the meanwhile, this edition hopes to bring to our readers a glimpse of those regions of interest and opportunity.
We do hope the current and upcoming publications serve as a platform to help with promoting ties with neighboring countries and shed light on the opportunities in business, politics, economics, ecology, environment and culture amongst these countries.
Being from the North East and knowing for a fact that the people of the North East Region of India have an ambitious vision, wherein they aspire to see their region emerge peaceful, strong, and confident, ready to engage with their neighboring countries and the global economy at large. They would like to march on the path of economic, social and cultural progress towards prosperity and well-being, to participate in governance and determine the allocation of public resources and public services they receive. Political empowerment in evolving responsive governance would help to achieve social and economic empowerment as well. They want to banish poverty and illiteracy and ensure that every family in the region has the opportunity to live a healthy and secure life with dignity and self-respect.
Improving connectivity is an important precondition for social and economic mobility and market integration. The region can regain its place as a centre of flourishing trade with East and Southeast Asia through the land (silk) route to China and Myanmar and through the sea port from Chittagong and Kolkata.
Recent initiatives in improving relations with neighbouring countries, particularly the MOU with Myanmar, restoring border trade and, more importantly, the Ganga treaty with Bangladesh, have kindled hopes of resurgence of the region based on flourishing international commerce.
To say the least, the vision of achieving peace and prosperity outlined above is eminently feasible but by no means easy. Realising the vision requires mobilisation of the people. Implementing a people based development strategy, infrastructure development, building capacity, and responsive administration and governance will attract significant investment and open up avenues for the development of the region.
– Ranjit Barthakur, Founding Chairman, Myanmar Matters