Impact of Act East, Neighborhood First policies extend beyond confines of South Asia: EAM Jaishankar
Better connectivity is central to improving the ease of doing business, he said
The coming together of India's Act East and Neighbourhood First policies have an enormous reinforcing impact that extends beyond the confines of South Asia, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.
The realization of the potential of BIMSTEC is one example that will change the Bay of Bengal, he said while speaking at the inaugural session of the Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence (NADI) Conclave in Guwahati, Assam.
"But think what happens if land connectivity through Myanmar and a sea connectivity through Bangladesh become viable," the External Affairs Minister pointed out.
On a commercial scale, a world all the way to Vietnam and Philippines, from Haiphong to Hazira and from Manila to Mundra will open up, creating an east-west lateral with sweeping consequences for the continent, EAM Jaishankar said.
According to him, it will not only build on the partnerships with the ASEAN and Japan, but would actually make a difference to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that is now in the making.
"It is definitely within our ability to overcome geography and rewrite near history if only we can get the politics and the economics right," he noted.
'BETTER CONNECTIVITY IS THE KEY'
According to EAM Jaishankar, better connectivity is central to improving the ease of doing business and the ease of living, both key priorities of the Modi Government. "When done with imagination and on scale, it can actually have repercussions far beyond the immediate issues of the day," he remarked.
Referring to enhancing connectivity with the Bangladesh, especially with the North East, he said the restoration of six historical cross-border rail links, dormant since 1965, is one major step.
The development of infrastructure on the India-Myanmar border also serves multiple economic, people-to-people and security imperatives, EAM Jaishankar pointed out during his address.
The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project is the most significant of those that India has undertaken in Myanmar, he said.
India is undertaking two projects as part of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway – connecting Moreh to Moe Sot in Thailand, through Myanmar, EAM Jaishankar added.