Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal advocated for an ecologically responsible economic growth in the South East Asian region.
Sonowal was speaking at the Special Plenary session in the 3rd edition of the Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence (NADI) Conclave in Guwahati on Saturday.
Addressing the gathering, the Sonowal said, “Our shared history and familiar conditions has created a common ground to build a peaceful and sustainable future. The Indian government is deeply committed to work towards its ambitious Act East Policy, as envisaged by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to advance our shared values and legacy for the benefit of humanity, peace, stability and prosperity.”
“With evolving global realities, the engines of economic growth are moving towards. We have an opportunity here to become partners as the Indian Ocean becomes the centre of the emerging ‘Age of Asia’. This new awakening recognizes of our interlinked destinies, interdependence for a cleaner environment and in our belief of shared opportunities. We, who live in and around our Indian Ocean, must own and bear primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”
“Our government remains deeply committed to this policy and at the heart of this are the ASEAN countries. A deeper economic integration with the dynamic South East Asian nations is an important aspect of our Act East Policy. To this effect, we are getting closely intertwined in a web of co-prosperity through an intricate network of rail, road, air and maritime links,” he further said.
Sonowal said, “We are also working to revive waterways in India and use them aggressively for cargo and passenger traffic as it saves cost and environmentally sound means of transport. We have made impressive strides in using the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP) to transport heavy cargo. This has also benefitted our neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan to access the Indian Ocean. Maritime transportation helps strengthen the economic integration. I call upon all of you to initiate steps to augment infrastructure and capacity at all major ports. We all have to take time bound initiatives to reduce the structural gap in terms of maritime and shipping infrastructure.”
Speaking on the premise of economic growth riding on ecological balance, Sonowal emphasised on ‘Blue Economy’ concept and said that a related aspect is the emergence of the ‘Blue Economy’ as a promising new pillar of prosperity in the region, with immense economic and employment potential.
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