The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the government of Nagaland organized a two-day North-East Connectivity summit, “Connect North East- 2017”, at the NBCC Convention Centre in later September. With focal emphasis on tourism and connectivity with neighboring countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh, the theme chosen for “Connect NorthEast-2017” was ‘Act East from Nagaland’.
The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Mr. TR Zeliang, addressed the summit with issues like connectivity and tourism engagements, investment and infrastructural prospects. FICCI North East Advisory Council chairman Mr. Ranjit Barthakur avowed the importance of exploring connectivity based infrastructure and investment canvas with Myanmar, Japan, Laos, Russia, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Thailand also, apart from the immediate seven North-Eastern Indian states.
The 4th edition of the North-East Connectivity Summit was attended by people across the spectrum from policy makers, corporates, researchers from think-tanks and central government ministries. Stakeholders belonging to civil aviation, ASEAN region, inland waterways, telecommunication, and financial institution also took part in the event.
With the objective of enhancing Northeast India’s connectivity scope with other countries, the discussions steered through development opportunities, trade and business engagements, and communication and cultural exchange prospects.
Important highlights from the summit involved identifying people to people connectivity opportunities and tourism, establishment of an Economic Corridor with Southeast Asia and other infrastructural requirements.
Myanmar’s Minister of Cultural Affairs Mr. Sai Kyaw Zaw expressed his support and keen interest in harnessing Northeast India’s development potential, and invited stakeholders and people from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram – as Myanmar shares long borders with all these four states – to develop closer and integrative ties with Myanmar.
With diplomatic participation at the forum, Mr. Kenko Sone, Minister, Economic Affairs, Embassy of Japan expressed, “The northeastern region is located at a strategically and economically important juncture between India and Southeast Asia as well as within the Bimstec community. Therefore, Japan has placed a particular importance on the cooperation in the northeastern region.”
Due to the enormous untapped potential residing in and about the northeastern region, it is essential to establish a shift from the negative lens through which Northeast is commonly perceived – neglect, lack of adequate infrastructure, lesser capabilities – to positive aspects of hospitality, grace in its inborn culture and its production pattern of growth as remarked by former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Mr. Gautam Mukhopadhaya.
The summit charted paths and resolutions indicating the need to develop and strengthen the “Northeast Brand”. This triggered consultations on developing the North-East Ring Road, North East Implementation Agency and High Powered Economic Forum to ensure efficient planning and execution of projects which would aid the region in attracting investments for rapid upgradation.
The 2018 North East Connectivity Summit would be held in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.