Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thrust on Act East Policy has brought a paradigm shift to the development narrative in the Northeast, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

Inaugurating a conclave on ‘Act East through North East’ here, Sarma said that the state government is striving to position Assam as the gateway for South East Asian countries.

“Northeast India has witnessed rapid transformation since 2014 under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His aim to ‘Act East and Act Fast’ gives new hope, energy and force to our people to bring a paradigm shift to connectivity, infrastructure, economy and development in all sectors,” the chief minister said.

“PM Modi has described the Northeast as the growth engine of the country. We also share his vision that the region is the sunrise area of the Indian economy,” he added.

Northeast has the potential to become the link for developing trade and commerce with South East Asian nations, Sarma said.

“We have 5,300 km of international borders with a host of countries such as Myanmar, China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Northeast is truly India’s gateway to South East Asia, and I believe the emerging connectivity with the ASEAN nations will play a defining role in enhancing our shared prosperity,” he said.

He said that the law and order situation in Assam has improved considerably with the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) removed from certain areas, while there has been phenomenal development of connectivity in the state.

“Railway network has been expanded to all the state capitals in the region, state-of-art highways have come up, digital infrastructure has improved considerably and apart from these, the mindset of the people has changed tremendously as they now want development, prosperity and to contribute to the growth and development of the country,” Sarma said.

Assam Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that prior to the announcement of Act East Policy, Assam was considered the last part of India but now it is regarded as the centre of India’s relations with the ASEAN countries.

Member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Sanjeev Sanyal and High Commissioner of Singapore to India Simon Wie Kuen were among those present in the conclave organised by the state government’s Act East Police Affairs Department.

On the sidelines of the conclave, the chief minister held discussions with Sanyal on issues related to Assam’s economic growth and development.

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