North East connects India with the world’s one of the most economically dynamic and politically significant geographies, the ASEAN

Japan has been an integral partner in supporting India’s efforts to navigate the vagaries of the post pandemic international system and in generating new opportunities for cooperative endeavor in the North East, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Speaking at the Inaugural Session of the Dialogue on ‘Development of North Eastern Indian Region: Indo-Japan Collaboration for Connectivity, Commerce, Capacity Building, Culture and Conservation,’ Shringla said, “Japan is a powerhouse of ideas and entrepreneurial energy. It is a valuable partner for us in our efforts to navigate the vagaries of the post-pandemic international system and in generating new opportunities for cooperative endeavour in all areas of India including the North East.”

The North East connects us to our neighbours and to one of the most economically dynamic and politically significant geographies of the world - the ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific, he said, adding that the government of India is making efforts to ensure smooth access to financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral funding agencies.

Shringla noted that Japan is a key partner in this. “It is therefore logical that we have chosen to work with one of our most valuable partners, Japan, for the development of this area. Our relations with Japan have acquired the dimensions of a Special Strategic and Global Partnership, firmly rooted in history and based on common values,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe established the India-Japan Act East Forum in 2017 to coordinate joint efforts for the overall development of the region. The initiative aims to enhance connectivity between our North East Region and SouthEast Asia and Bangladesh.

Speaking about the ongoing projects in the North East, Shringla said, “Four road connectivity projects are underway in various parts of the North East. Roads are being augmented in Mizoram, Meghalaya and in Tripura. The longest bridge in the country across the Brahmaputra in Dhubri in Assam is being constructed with Japanese support. Japan is also helping us modernize the Umiam-Umtru Hydroelectric Power Station in Meghalaya and with the Guwahati Water Supply and Guwahati Sewerage Project. The forward looking and holistic aspect of this partnership is visible in projects with the forest department in the states of Sikkim, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya to conserve biodiversity,strengthen forestry management, and improve local incomes.”

“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,” he added.

He pointed out some emerging trends on regional connectivity in countries bordering the North East. Indian development partnership supports a number of projects that promote regional integration, he said.

“Projects involving our neighbours adjoining the North East, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan,and Myanmar, are slowly but surely bringing us closer together. A good example of the efforts in this direction is the augmentation of rail connectivity between India and Bangladesh. Intermodal transport linkages and inland waterways through Bangladesh are also being expanded,” Shringla said.