DIGBOI, Oct 19 � PC Halder, member of the National Security Advisory Board, Government of India, termed the �Look East Policy� as the second birth of India in his address as the chairperson of the plenary session of the international seminar on the topic �India�s Northeast � Beyond Borders: Past, Present and Future�, held on the premises of Margherita College, Margherita on October 17 and 18. He urged upon the people of the Northeast to come out actively and do the capacity building of their own without waiting for others.
Halder further said that connectivity was an important factor for development, but the first priority must go to full-scale improvement of the internal connectivity of the region. Ruling out the deterring role of the security question in the matter of opening up of the Stilwell Road, he said the region must complete the process of the capacity building ahead of that, or else China might take full advantage of the situation and the already prevailing adverse bilateral trade relation of India with China would further worsen.
The session, which concluded the discussions over various aspects of the central theme, adopted unanimously a number of recommendations. The first recommendation was about bridging the political differences with the help of commonality in social, economic, cultural, linguistic and religious aspects of life in the Northeast as well as the bordering countries and creation of a conglomerate of mutual interests and understandings for human development of the entire region with open ended corridors � physical, moral as well as psychological.
Another recommendation was the effective formation of the Himalayan Block for sustenance of ecological security and economic gains through �carbon credit�. Prioritization of HRD in the region with due emphasis on tapping of traditional knowledge base and skills, development of Northeast into a buffer zone of economic facilities, better connectivity, breaking down of all artificial divides through common or bilateral understanding and formulation of a centre for policy research and development in the region were the other recommendations.
Earlier, the international seminar, organized by the Sociology Department of the college with sponsorship from UGC and ICSSR, was inaugurated on the morning of October 17 by Pradyut Bordoloi, local MLA and Minister of Power, Industries, Commerce & Education, who in his speech, drew upon the history of the entire region, including the countries bordering it, and said that it was a story of conflict as well as cohesion. The inaugural session was presided over by Dr Buddhin Gogoi, principal of the college.
Prof Alak Buragohain, Vice Chancellor of Dibrugarh University, delivering the keynote address, said that India�s Northeast constituted a continuum of Southeast Asia with commonalities and could be developed into a useful platform for common good of the whole region. He said there was a paradigm shift in the intents and scope of the Look East Policy of the Government of India from the early 1990s till 2007 when Pranab Mukherjee, then Finance Minister called the Northeast as the theatre of India�s economic development.
The resource persons coming from abroad included Prof Abdul Awaal Biswas of Shah-jalal University of Science & Technology of Sylhet of Bangladesh, Prof Kowit Pimpuang and Dr Methawee Yuttapongtada of Kasetsart University of Thailand and Prof Uddhab Pyakurel of Kathmandu University of Nepal. The Indian resource persons included Prof AC Sinha, ICSSR National Fellow, New Delhi, Prof Pradip Bhowmick of IIT, Kharagpur, Dr PV Ramana, Research Fellow, New Delhi, Prof Sujit Sikidar of Gauhati University and Prof KC Borah of Dibrugarh University, etc.