GUWAHATI, Oct 22 - The Government of India has identified infrastructure development, capacity building and improvement of relation with the neighbouring countries as some of the key areas for the success of the much talked about Act East Policy and steps have been initiated for giving due importance to these areas so that the Policy becomes beneficial for the North East.
Highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that the Act East Policy is more of a vision and the Centre is of the view that mere movement of goods produced in other parts of the country to the South East Asian countries through the North East would not be beneficial for the region.
Sources pointed out that infrastructure development including road, rail and air connectivity, telecom and internet connectivity etc are vital for the success of the Act East Policy and that is why the Government is giving stress on development of these areas and investments in such sectors have been increased substantially. Waterways connectivity is also vital for movement of goods and for that, the Government of India has already taken up the issue with Bangladesh so that the Chittagong port can be used for the movement of goods from and out of the North East. The Government of Bangladesh has already agreed on principle to allow India to use the Chittagong port and some formalities need to be completed. The Government has also expedited the implementation of the Kaladan project for improving connectivity, sources added.
The second major issue is improvement of relations with the neighbouring countries and all out diplomatic efforts are on in this regard. The Government of India is also supporting Myanmar in construction of major infrastructure projects, while India is also playing a key role in construction of the trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand, which will be vital for the success of the Act East Policy.
On the other hand, the Government is of the view that capacity building in the North East is important if the people of the region have to get the real benefits of the Policy. Sources pointed out that if goods are only transported to India through the region, the people of the area would not get the real benefits of the Policy. �The Government believes that the people of the North East should not only be consumers of imported products. The Government is of the view that capacity building is the key so that the people of the North East can sale their products to the South East Asian countries and for that the items, which have market demand in the neighbouring countries, should be identified and efforts should be made to produce the same in the North East,� sources added.