Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that a mutual collaboration and reciprocity between the ASEAN and BBN countries can go a long way in auguring a friendly landscape prevailing in South Asia and South East Asian countries.
Interacting with the ambassadors and high commissioners of ASEAN and BBN countries on the sidelines of the 2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit at Taj Vivanta here today, Chief Minister Sonowal said that unity among ASEAN and BBN countries, can transform the region into an era of shared prosperity.
He also said that the ASEAN and BBN countries need to meet frequently and work on a common agenda. Stating that India and ASEAN has recently celebrated 25 years of dialogue partnership the entire region should work for growth-centric mutual cooperation. In the last 4 years, the Act East Policy resulted in much greater traction in the cooperation in all sectors, be it economic, socio-cultural or connectivity. He also said that India's trade with ASEAN reached 81 billion dollars, which is 10 per cent of the total foreign trade of India. Major projects of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral highway have been completed and the Kaladan project has made considerable progress. The India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement is also reaching consensus for finalization.
He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took steps to witness rapid growth of India through Northeastern region's economic and socio-cultural integration with the ASEAN and BBN countries. Sonowal also stated that North East is the only part of India having physical contiguity with the ASEAN region. Considering the population mass of 800 million comprising of the North East, ASEAN, BBN, the entire region is a huge market which needs to be integrated on pattern of the European Union and the African Community.
He also conceded that the Act East Policy Affairs Department in Assam the first of its kind in the entire country has been exclusively created in realizing the mandate given by Act East Policy to restore physical connectivity, movement of people and cross-cultural connectivity. He also said that the total size of the ASEAN economy is 2.4 trillion Dollars. Integration of the entire region with the ASEAN has the potential of reaching out to the skies.