Govt pursuing Look East Policy: Sushma
SHILLONG, NOVEMBER 14
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ndia is vigorously pursuing the Look East Policy to improve connectivity and promote trade with Bangladesh and the ASEAN, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Friday.
India’s northeast was strategically important as the region bordered China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the minister said in a speech read out by a senior official.
Sushma Swaraj failed to make it to Shillong due to bad weather.
“We need to factor in inputs from points of view of foreign and defence policy, internal security and internal security and international trade,” she said.“To this end, the immediate priority is to build the required infrastructure right up to the border areas, establishing connectivity and communication links to the cross-border points.”
The minister cancelled her visit to Shillong along with Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh to inaugurate the Shillong Passport Seva Kendra as an Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force carrying them failed to land at the helipad due to bad weather.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who inaugurated the Kendra, said the passport office would greatly benefit the people of the state as they would not have to go to Guwahati to get passports.
On India’s Look East Policy, Sushma Swaraj said the policy needed to be accorded priority by all central agencies and state governments.
“This also requires resolving outstanding issues of trade, transit and investment with the countries neighbouring the region since it involves promoting Indian investment in infrastructure in partner countries,” she added.
Chief Minister Sangma said the Look East Policy had become one of the most important cornerstone of India’s foreign policy.
“It is important to bear in mind that India’s land connection into Southeast Asia is through its northeastern region which has been long neglected primarily due to the region’s disadvantages of remoteness from the mainland of the country,” he said.