NEW DELHI, May 31 - In a bid to push the Act East Policy, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday called on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar within hours of his joining and urged him to expedite implementation of the policy.
Talking to this newspaper, Sonowal said that he spoke to the External Affairs Minister over telephone and congratulated him. �I also urged him to keep a special focus on the Act East Policy, the Prime Minister�s flag ship initiative,� he said.
The External Affairs Minister assured that he would do his utmost to boost the Act East Policy, said Sonowal.
The Chief Minister said that in keeping with the initiative of the Prime Minister, his government has taken several measures to export products to the South East Asian countries.
The Delhi-Guwahati-Honk Kong cargo service is the latest to join the network touching the Northeast.
Spice Xpress, the air cargo arm of India�s Spice Jet airline has announced plans to treble its fleet by the end of the 2020 financial year. Currently, the airline operates two Boeing 737NG aircraft and four more are expected to be added by March 2021, the company said.
Spice Xpress recently launched its freighter service on the Guwahati-Hong Kong route, becoming the first airline to connect Northeast and South East Asia with a dedicated freight service. The airline sees huge potential in the Northeast, especially in the fruit and vegetable market, and plans to connect all the seven northeastern States with Guwahati, creating a cargo hub for the entire region.
�Our farmers will gain the most as their products can now reach the neighbouring countries without much delay. Already the initiative has paid rich dividend,� Sonowal added. �The aim is to turn Assam and the Northeast in to organic hub of the country,� said the Chief Minister.
�A Rs 1,500-crore passenger terminal is coming up in Guwahati and we are working on setting up an Rs 80-crore cargo terminal adjutant to the Guwahati airport,� Sonowal added.
�Bangladesh and Bhutan have already set up consulates in Guwahati and Israel�s Ambassador, Dr Ron Malka has called to inform that they are appointing its sixth Honorary Consul in Assam.
Hailing Dibrugarh MP Rameshwar Teli�s appointment as Food Processing Minister, the Chief Minister said that the Northeast has tremendous potential and the Prime Minister must have kept this in mind while appointing him.
The Chief Minister said that he is very optimistic and hopeful by the developments in Delhi and this will contribute to the development of the region. All ongoing projects are now likely to be expedited, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has special interest in the Northeast, Sonowal reminded.