Connectivity is the main thrust area of this initiative

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday said India is a prominent global economy and the neighbouring countries in South Asia should see a stake in its growth.

“We have to take them along so that when we develop, they too develop and the fruits of that are mutually shared,” the Foreign Secretary said in his remarks at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

While stating that India has planned a special emphasis on comprehensive development of relations with neighbours, he highlighted the ongoing connectivity programme in this regard.

“The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has planned a special emphasis on comprehensive development of relations with our neighbours. It includes several connectivity projects to connect India with Bangladesh and Myanmar, and eventually push all the way by road, by sea, by air to Vietnam, to Japan,” the Foreign Secretary said.

He said this connectivity means “greater trade, greater investments, people-to-people ties, less illegal migration and more security. In other words, we will be living in a zone of prosperity. When Prime Minister Modi talks about ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, it is not only just for our country. It encompasses our entire neighborhood.”

In the presence of Japanese Ambassador to India Suzuki Satoshi and CMD Mitsubishi Corporation India Limited Yoji Taguchi at the programme at KIIT, the Foreign Secretary said Japan has played an important role in India’s economic modernization.

“Currently, Japan is the fifth largest investor in India. The number of Japanese companies in India has been increasing steadily and today, there are more than 1450 of them in India," he said.

"Japan is also one of the most important development partners for India. Its loans have been deployed over sectors ranging from healthcare to sustainable development,” he added.

Further talking about Japan’s role in India, the Foreign Secretary drew audiences’ attention towards Delhi Metro and on-going the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed project.

He also said that vaccination against Covid-19 will remain the main focus of governments across the world. “India is playing its part. As you know, India is a global vaccine manufacturing hub. We are close to achieving the landmark of administering a billion vaccines to our citizens,” the Foreign Secretary said.

On Quad, he said, the group has decided to supply a billion vaccines to these countries with Australia providing the last mile logistical support.