Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday said that a concrete blueprint needs to be made ready and finalised for the Act East Policy that is largely affecting Manipur and other Northeast states.
He said that the responsibility of Manipur state towards the policy, benefits for homegrown entrepreneurs, items of trade and commerce, infrastructures and manpower, everything needs to be finalised.
The chief minister was speaking during the inaugural function of two-day conclave on “Act East to Indo-Pacific: Role of Northeast India in Connecting the Connectivities” being organised by Policy and Planning Division of Ministry of External Affairs, Asian Confluence and Manipur University at Hotel Classic Grande in Imphal.
CM Biren explained that ‘Look East Policy’ or its christened ‘Act East Policy’ has been talked about since a long time yet the same has not been materialised.
He also exuded positivity that the two-day conclave would certainly come up with some concrete blueprint or roadmap. Such a platform would provide deeper insights of the strategic landscape and developmental trends, he said of the conclave.
Further noting that developing a secure and prosperous NE is in the interest of the country, he said that the government under the leadership of PM Modi is focussing on the region's growth.
He highlighted that plans for Asian Railways through Moreh-Tamu by extending the rail line beyond Imphal will boost trade, commerce, and promote sectors such as logistics, tourism, services, etc. creating livelihood and employment opportunities.
He went on to say that illegal drug and arms trafficking and infiltration of immigrants in border areas have security implications in addition to socio economic effects. As such the government has taken measures to heighten security along the border, he added.
CM Biren also opined that the War on Drugs campaign is becoming successful with drug menace significantly reduced by around 80 percent while 90 percent of poppy cultivators shifted to other crops.
Recounting that 14,315 acres of illicit poppy cultivation were destroyed during the previous government’s term, he said that not many areas with poppy cultivation were found this time.
The chief minister also highlighted the necessity for Manipur and other states of the region to be mindful of the security dimensions due to its strategic location and said that law and order in the state has improved significantly and steps are being taken up to augment border management and further strengthen the security environment.
He further said that projects for border fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border are being taken up to fence 60.23 km of the international border.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education RK Ranjan said that the conclave will go a long way in meeting ends of India’s foreign policy.
He highlighted that many physical connectivity projects connecting Northeast to Bangladesh, Myanmar and rest of India are in progress.
He said that the government is also working to ensure connectivity in a holistic concept by providing power, energy, digital and financial connectivity across the region.
The inaugural session was also attended by executive director, Asian Confluence Sabyasachi Dutta; Vice Chancellor, Manipur University professor N Lokendra Singh; joint secretary, PP&R, Ministry of External Affairs, Sumith Seth; professor, Manipur University Ch Ibohal Meitei among others.
The two-day conclave will also have moderated conversations and panel discussions on various topics.