External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday inaugurated an international river conference ‘NADI’ (Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence) in Guwahati to articulate the collective vision of cooperation in the Bay of Bengal and the Southeast Asian region.
The conclave was organized by Shillong-based think tank Asian Confluence in collaboration with the Union External Affairs Ministry, Act East Policy Affairs Department of the Assam government, North Eastern Council and other partners.
Jaishankar said, “India is more connected to the Northeast and the Northeast is more connected to India’s neighbors. This means a complete transformation of the regional economy. Instead of being regarded as a frontier, it will emerge as a hub in itself.”
“Better connectivity is central to improving ease of doing business & living. We need to tackle topography related challenges. India that's more connected to northeast & northeast that's more connected to India's neighbours will be transformation for region,” he added.
Further, Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma while speaking on the occasion said, “Northeast is India's gateway to Southeast Asia. Our government is working to make Assam an industrial hub not only for the region but also for catering requirements of ASEAN countries. There's a need to leverage the advantage of Assam's unique location.”
The NADI conference is aimed at building confidence in the key role of the Northeast in taking forward India’s strategic initiative for energy and water security in the neighborhood and the Bay of Bengal region leading towards a vibrant and secure Indo-Pacific.
Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman will deliver the valedictory address of the conclave on May 29.