DoNER minister asks UK to explore business opportunities in Northeast India
Union Minister Jitendra Singh asked the United Kingdom on Monday to explore business opportunities in Northeast India, saying the two countries can form a "mutually-rewarding" relationship because of their shared commonalities, including cultural, social and linguistic.
In a virtual meeting with the representatives of the British High Commission, Singh said the bonds between the two nations are very intricately woven, making collaboration and joint pursuits easier, according to an official statement.
Singh said the northeastern region has a unique role in the promotion of trade and business ties with the ASEAN as it is the gateway to the growing economies of South-East Asia.
Singh said there has been a significant improvement in road, rail and air connectivity in the Northeast, and the Indo-Bangladesh treaty for exchange of enclaves has cleared the decks for business activities in the region.
He said that a train will soon be launched connecting Tripura with Bangladesh, providing the entire region access to seaports. He underlined the government's focus on exploring alternative modes of transport - like inland waterways (from the Brahmaputra to the Bay of Bengal).
British officials highly appreciated the handicraft, fruit, vegetables and spices in the northeastern states and expressed their willingness to brand them in the global market. They said that Britain is a pioneer in agri-tech and could explore setting up cold chains in the region on the lines of what they did in Haryana for processing of food products, the statement said.
Singh, who is the Union Minister for Development of the North-Eastern Region (DoNER), had welcomed the British Council's proposal for collaboration in the education sector for teaching science and mathematics in all the eight northeastern states. An MoU will be signed soon with the North Eastern Council to take the collaboration to a new high.
The British Council also expressed willingness to work with universities and tech institutes of the region, mainly IIT Guwahati.
"India and Britain are capable of a mutually rewarding business relationship because of their shared commonalities at different levels, including cultural, social and linguistic," he said.
The minister said in the last six years, the northeastern region had made up for several lapses of the past because the region received attention at par with other regions of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This instilled confidence among the people and also raised the capacity to engage with other parts of India as well as the countries across the eastern borders, at different levels, he said.
He said Prime Minister Modi had changed the policy of "Look East" to Act East to take the multilateral cooperation to newer heights.