Nagaland eager for bilateral trade with ASEAN countries — CM Rio
Kohima/Dimapur, July 30 (EMN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is in Bangkok for the North East India Festival 2022, on Saturday, said educating people on the similarities of the Northeast region of India, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, can help unify and help form close economic collaboration between the nations.
Addressing the gathering at the inaugural programme of the 2nd Edition of North East India Festival at Central World Complex, Bangkok, Rio said the event will give further thrust to the Act East Policy of the Government of India and Act West Policy of Thailand and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
“I am hopeful that new vistas of opportunity in trade and tourism, as well as people-to-people and cultural unification, will emerge,” he said.
“Nagaland Tourism is also venturing into a new tourism initiative ‘Reimagine Tourism’ by promoting off road destination and taking Tourism to interiors of Nagaland on off-road 4×4 trails in the ‘remoter’ areas where we expect to attract those interested in adventure and rural tourism,” he added.
The chief minister also welcomed a delegation from the tourism industry of Thailand to the Hornbill Festival this year, while adding that the state hosted eight ambassadors of the ASEAN countries during the Hornbill Festival in 2021.
He told the gathering that Nagaland is eager to build a robust platform for bilateral trade as it is blessed with various fruits, vegetables, organic products, floriculture, herbal, medicinal plants, etc. He also highlighted the prospect of handicrafts and handloom sector from the state; potential in bamboo and honey; and sizable quantity of untapped mineral resources.
Rio said that India is investing extensively towards building infrastructure to connect its north-eastern region with the ASEAN countries as part of its Act East Policy.
“India – Myanmar – Thailand Trilateral Highway promises to transform the region’s economic landscape through trade with the ASEAN and the development of Kaladan Multi Model Transit Transport and building of an Integrated Port and Inland Water Transport Terminal in Sittwe being undertaken in consonant with the Act East Policy of the Government of India provides further impetus to the trade and investment of the NE region with the ASEAN countries,” he added.
He stated that the trilateral Asian highway passes through Nagaland and the state is ‘ready with requisite infrastructure and allied facilities for bilateral trade with Thailand and ASEAN countries’.
He said that the state aims to become a preferred investment destination for anyone planning to cater to the ASEAN market.
‘Large industrial parks with plug and play facilities for investors to explore are part of our economic infrastructure strategies,’ he stated, adding that the government of Nagaland will be proactive in providing one stop clearances and support for investors.
Rio informed that in the fourth week of August 2022, Nagaland is organising a ‘major national level investment summit’ in partnership with the Government of India under the leadership of Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.
‘State’s biggest strength is creativity’
The CM stated that the state’s biggest strength is the creativity of its people, who are emerging in the creative fields starting from music, fashion, hospitality and service industry.
He further said that he wants to initiate a Naga Emporium in Bangkok and expressed hope for a partnership from the Royal Thai government.
“I am here with an objective to strengthen ties, build partnerships and create trust. We want to initiate a Naga Emporium in Bangkok which will also be a facilitation centre to undertake investments in Nagaland. We look forward to the support and partnership from the Royal Thai Government,” Rio said.
Over 150 participants from Nagaland, including policymakers, officials, entrepreneurs, cultural personalities, tour operators and media persons are said to be participating in the festival. Products of Nagaland are also being exhibited at the festival.
Rio thanked the Embassy of India in Thailand for hosting the occasion and appreciated the efforts put in by the Northeast India Festival team. “I hope that together we will witness a new beginning,” he said.
The chief minister later addressed a joint press conference with the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Arunachal Pradesh Dy. CM Chowna Mein, and called for greater cooperation and strengthening of people-to-people contact between the NE region, the Kingdom of Thailand and ASEAN countries.
Events at the festival included buyers-sellers meets, cultural programmes, fashion events, exhibitions, discussions and interactions etc.
The North East India Festival 2022 will culminate on July 31.