Activities under the Initiative will be covered under the umbrella of Act East Forum

India and Japan have decided to launch a comprehensive initiative for the sustainable development of the North Eastern Refion (NER). This will complement existing developmental initiatives of the State Governments of NER and the Government of India.

The initiative was announced during Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio's visit to New Delhi for the 14th India-Japan Annual Summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

The scope of activities under the Initiative will be covered under the umbrella of Act East Forum (AEF) and will build on the inherent strengths of NER, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

India and Japan established the Act East Forum (AEF) in 2017 for the development of the North Eastern region of India (NER) and to promote connectivity within this region and between this region and Southeast Asia.

According to the MEA, AEF reflects the synergy between India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Six meetings of the Act East Forum have taken place so far, while the coordination team meets more frequently for necessary ground work.

The list of activities under the Initiative includes both ongoing projects and potential future cooperation to be explored, the MEA said.

1. Agriculture

* Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development in Mizoram

2. Development of Agro-industries, especially through SMEs

* Initiative for Strengthening Bamboo Value Chain in the North East

* Food processing including tea industries, Organic Farming and Horticulture, including a project to support women’s empowerment

The initiative will look at encouraging B2B collaboration between India and Japan for achieving the aforementioned objectives.

3. Promotion of Tourism and Cultural Exchanges

* Promoting tourism through active information outreach

*.Art and Cultural Exchanges between NER and Japan, including Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival in Meghalaya

* Further discussions on promotion of tourism in Meghalaya.

4. Promoting Skill India

* Collaborating through skill centres, such as the Japanese Endowed Course (JEC) at IIT Guwahati, Assam

* Promoting Japanese language education, including through JICA’s Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) teachers and Japan Foundation (JF) schemes

* Deploying trainees/workers to Japan under the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) / Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) system

* Exploring further JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Programme

5. Cooperation in Development of Urban Areas

* Pursuing Water Supply and Sewerage projects in Guwahati, Assam

* Pursuing promotion of environment friendly mobility

* Exploring further the possibility of Japan Industrial Township (JIT) (including "decentralized” type) in Nagarbera, Assam to attract investments and promote manufacturing

* Exploring cooperation in the Kohima Smart City Mission for sustainable urban development

6. Providing Healthcare

* Strengthening the health system and quality of medical education in Assam

* Advancing consultations on cooperation for establishing a tertiary Super-Speciality Cancer and Research Centre in Aizawl, Mizoram and exploring the potential of cooperation for strengthening the functions of the medical college hospital in Kohima, Nagaland

7. Promoting Sustainable Use of Forest Resources

* Ongoing projects in Tripura, Nagaland, Sikkim and Meghalaya

8. Development of New and Renewable Energy

* Ongoing Project for Renovation and Modernization of Umiam-Umtru Stage-III Hydroelectric Power Station, Meghalaya

9. Disaster Resilience

* Applying the Guidelines and Japanese methods introduced under the JICA’s technical cooperation (T/C) project to future road development

* Pursuing resilient connectivity through the JICA’s technical cooperation (T/C) Project "Capacity Development for the Maintenance of Resilient Mountainous Highways.”

* Mock drills in disaster management

* Pursuing information exchange and advancing discussion on potential training for Regional Emergency Management & Training Institute in Kohima, Nagaland.

10. Connectivity

* Ongoing North-East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Projects:

Phases 1-5 (National Highways [NH] 40 & 51 in Meghalaya and NH 54 in Mizoram, NH-208 in Tripura, NH-127B (Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge access road) in Assam, as well as the 20 km long Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge over the Brahmaputra River);

Phase 6 (Khowai-Sabroom stretch on NH-208 in Tripura)

* Pursuing the potential of Phase 7 (NH-127B (Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge access road) in Meghalaya)

* Exploring the potential of upgradation of State Highways, Major District Roads, Other District Roads and Replacement of steel bridges in Sikkim