Agartala: Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said that the Narendra Modi government has changed the 'Look-East Policy' to 'Act East Policy' to make the North-Eastern region a trade and business hub of South East Asia.
"The North Eastern region has 98 per cent of its border with South Asian countries and the rest 2 per cent is with India. Where North-East ends, South Asia begins. "We want to make the region the trade and commercial hub for the South East Asia. We earmarked Rs 53,000 crore for overall development of the region in the last budget," Rijiju said after inaugurating a cargo loading station at the Akhaura Integrated Check Post (ICP).
Former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on November 17 last year had inaugurated India's second international-standard multi-purpose ICP in Agartala along the Indo-Bangla international border. Rijiju said he told a Japanese delegation in New Delhi on Friday that the central government wants massive investment in the north-eastern region for utilisation of the untapped resources of the region.
During his visit to the NE states earlier this week, the Prime Minister had said the Government was converting the 'Look East policy to Act East policy'. He said the Government signed an agreement with Japan, to open an economic corridor with Myanmar, which would boost employment in the region. The Prime Minister had also announced during the ASEAN summit last month that the 'Look East Policy' has become 'Act East Policy'.
The eight NE states - Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim - share international boundaries with China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Stating that most part of the north-eastern region is peaceful, except some portion of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
"Manipur remained a challenge to us. I appeal to the insurgents to shun the path of violence to return to normal life and take part in building up the region. There would be no dearth of rehabilitation packages," he said. The minister said talks are on with a faction of ULFA and NSCN which is progressing in positive directions.
"The central government appointed a new interlocutor RN Ravi for holding peace talks with NSCN and we hope the result will be positive," he added. Ravi is also the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.