New Delhi :Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal advocated for an ecologically responsible economic growth in the South east Asian region. The Minister was speaking at the Special Plenary session in the 3rd edition of NADI dialogue organised by Asian Confluence in Guwahati today.
The Union Minister highlighted the time tested and historical ties that the Northeast India has built with the South east Asian countries along with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The maritime routes via Ganga, Brahmaputra and Mekong have always played a pivotal role in building an economic rationale for the region to grow apart from other socio-cultural influences. The Minister also spoke about the role played by the great Chaolung Sukapha in building the greater Assamese society and how his endeavours eventually led to the foundation of the state of Assam.
Addressing the august gathering, the Shri Sonowal said, “Our shared history and familiar conditions has created a common ground to build a peaceful & sustainable future. The Indian government is deeply committed to work towards its ambitious Act East Policy, as envisaged by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, to advance our shared values & legacy for the benefit of humanity, peace, stability & prosperity. With evolving global realities, the engines of economic growth is 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 is a recognition of our interlinked destinies, interdependence for a cleaner environment and in our belief of shared opportunities. We, who live in & around our Indian Ocean, must own & bear primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the region’’.
Speaking on the Act East policy of the Government the Minister further said, “The vision of our Prime Minister is to act for a better tomorrow. The tactical shift from Look East to Act East policy of the government is a testament to this vision. 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. We are also working to revive waterways in India and use them aggressively for cargo and passenger traffic as it saves cost & 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, Shri Sonowal emphasised on ‘Blue Economy’ concept & said, “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. India is seeking a more cooperative and integrated future for the region through development of the ocean-based blue economy. A distinct feature of the Blue Economy lies in harnessing of marine resources for economic and social development and environmental sustainability without undermining the conservation and restocking aspects of these finite natural resources.”
The session was also attended by Mr Muhammad Imran, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India; Mr Jigme Thinlye Namgya, Consul General of Bhutan; Mr Dato Alaihuddin Mohd Taha, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to India; Mr Ung Sean, Ambassador of Cambodia to India; Ms Ina H. Krisnamurthi, Ambassador of Indonesia to India; Mr Bounneme Chouanghom, Ambassador of Lao PDR to India; Mr Dato Hidayat Abdul Hamid, High Commissioner of Malaysia to India; Mr Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar to India; Mr Ramon S Bagatsing, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to India; Mr Simon Wong Wie Kuen, High Commissioner of Singapore to India; Ms Pattarat Hongtong, Ambassador of Thailand to India; Mr. Pham Sanh Chau, Ambassador of Vietnam to India along with other dignitaries and eminent people.