Guwahati, Feb 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Global Investors’ Summit-Advantage Assam in Guwahati. Addressing the event, Modi said the tagline of the meet – ‘Advantage Assam: India’s expressway to ASEAN’ – is very appropriate and not just a statement but it is a “comprehensive vision”.
“The work of both central government and Assam government in the last three-and-a-half years has brought us here and now we are able to hold such an event. It was only possible because the thought ‘Nothing can be done about this country has changed,” Modi remarked.
He also added that the northeast is at the heart of India’s ‘Act East Policy’ for connecting to Southeast Asia and build trade and people-to-people ties with the Asean bloc. “We created the Act East Policy and the Northeast is at the heart of it. The Act East Policy requires increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with countries on India’s east, particularly Asean countries,” Modi said.
To this end, Prime Minister Modi said the country worked with the vision that India’s growth story will pick up more speed only when the northeast region developed at the same pace in a balanced manner.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the new policy launched in the Union Budget to restructure the National Bamboo mission that has been welcomed in the bamboo-rich northeast.
“Bamboo is scientifically a grass but nearly 90 years ago, the lawmakers categorized it as a tree which required for a permit to cut or transport. Northeast Indians were the most at disadvantage because of this,” Prime Minister Modi said, adding, “It is only our government that removed bamboo from the category of trees and brought benefit to the tribal population.”
The Prime Minister also spoke on the other salient policies that were launched or received a boost under the Union Budget, such as Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Mudra Yojana, and the like.
Terming the Budget for 2018 “farmer-friendly”, Prime Minister Modi said that the farmers’ development was imperative to the country’s development and added that all ASEAN countries were, in a way, agriculture dominated.
Further, in a testament to the progress towards the Act East Policy, Prime Minister Modi informed that Bangladesh recently became the first country to open a consulate in Guwahati, while Bhutan opened a consulate in the city on Friday.
Earlier in the day, the PM was received by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, along with other officials.
The two-day event, starting today, will showcase the state’s manufacturing opportunities and geostrategic advantages to foreign and domestic investors. It has been organised by the Assam Government, in association with the industry body the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), aiming to position the state as India’s Expressway to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
(Inputs from agencies)