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NE govts should create scope for investment: US envoy

By Sivasish Thakur

GUWAHATI, June 29 - US Consul General in Kolkata Craig L Hall today said that sectors like agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, power, etc, in Assam and other north-eastern states provided ample scope for investment and it was for the governments in the region to create the required atmosphere for prospective US investors.

Hall added that the region�s proximity with the South Asian nations was another big plus that could open up exciting vistas if some thought was given to it.

�The North-east�s strategic location accruing from its proximity to several South Asian countries is replete with possibilities. It can well emerge as the gateway to South Asia if the governments can get their act together. The US can also do its bit here, as it wants to extend its influence to South East Asia through the North-east,� Hall told The Assam Tribune.

The US envoy felt that connectivity in terms of road, rail and air in the North-east was not up to the level of rest of India and said that it warranted government intervention. �I understand that connectivity is a key issue here, and the governments need to address it,� he said.

Asserting that US-India ties had been on an upswing for quite some time and the recent Modi-Trump meeting gave it a further impetus, especially in matters of security and fight against terror, Hall said that education and economic ties, too, had been the focal points in Indo-US bilateral cooperation.

�Educational and economic ties have been central to Indo-US relations for decades. This is born out by the huge presence of Indian students across our educational campuses. The number of Indian students in the US has seen a record rise to 1,66,000 as of now. It is an increase of 33,000 over last year�s, with a growth rate of 25 per cent,� he said.

On the issue of H1b visa restrictions and curb on outsourcing by US firms to India, Hall said that there was only a national debate on visa restrictions and nothing concrete had come out as yet. �In any case the debate is whether the US can allow more Indians in work than what we are already having; so there is no question of any job cut,� he pointed out.

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