Guwahati: Assam’s Act East Policy Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary on Tuesday said that the infrastructure and connectivity development projects being implemented in the northeast are transforming the boundaries that NE states share with foreign countries into corridors for trade and people-to-people contact.

The thrust on development in the region by the governments has placed NE at the centre of Southeast Asia rather than being the periphery of the country, he said.

Patowary was speaking at a conclave on India’s Act East Connect: Prospects and Challenges’ held here under the aegis of Act East Policy Affairs Department, in collaboration with Asian Confluence, Shillong, an official release said.

The minister pointed that before Independence, the NE used to have multi-modal transportation networks through road, rail, and water through the territories which are now in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Tea and petroleum used to reach the Chittagong (now Bangladesh) and Kolkata (then Calcutta) ports through the Brahmaputra-Padma-Meghna riverine waterway as well as through railway lines passing through present-day Bangladesh.

The then undivided Assam had a per-capita income higher than the national average up to 1950, he said.

With the Partition of India, the trade routes and transportation linkages were suddenly snapped, making the region land-locked, Patowary said.

Highlighting that things have improved in a significant manner in the connectivity sector lately, the minister said several initiatives have been taken by the governments to remove the old notion of the northeast as the periphery of the country’.

The region is rather being developed as the centre of Southeast Asia , he said.

Projects like the 1,408-km-long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway will transform the boundaries the NE states share with foreign countries into trade, business, and people-to-people corridors, the minister said.

the northeast region has an enormous potential to become the destination for investment and Assam enjoys a locational advantage, the minister added.

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