Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh said that Connectivity is an important element of Act East Policy.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today, he said, efforts in this direction include Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link between India and Bangladesh, Intermodal transport linkages and inland waterways through Bangladesh, Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway Project connecting the North East with Myanmar and Thailand.
Under India-Japan Act East Forum, projects such as Road and Bridges and modernisation of Hydro-electric power project have been undertaken. Among other initiatives, assistance has been extended in the form of medicines/medical supplies to ASEAN countries during the pandemic.
Scholarships with an offer of 1,000 PhD fellowships have been offered at IITs for ASEAN countries participants. India is also implementing Quick Impact Projects in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to provide development assistance to grass-root level communities in the fields of education, water resources, health etc.
The ‘Act East Policy’, announced in November 2014, is the upgrade of the “Look East Policy” which was promulgated in 1992. It aims at promoting economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop a strategic relationship with countries in the Indo-Pacific region with a proactive and pragmatic approach and thereby improving the economic development of the North Eastern Region (NER) which is a gateway to the South-East Asia Region.
The policy has been continuously evolving since the early 1990s and involves intensive and continuous engagement with South-East Asian countries in the field of connectivity, trade, culture, defence and people-to-people-contact at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.