SE Asia, NE to explore trade potential
In a move to explore trade potential between the North East and Southeast Asia, diplomats from eight Southeast Asian countries are expected to participate in a business summit here in the fourth week of October.
The summit will be organised by the North East Trade Promotion & Development Council (NETPDC) on the sidelines of Third Asom International Trade Fair. The trade exposition starts on October 14.
The fair is being sponsored DoNER. Eight ambassadors and first secretaries from Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and China are expected to participate in the summit. In this regard, deputy prime minister of Thailand Korbsak Sabhavasu had a meeting with minister for development of northeastern region (DoNER) and mines BK Handique in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Early completion of the trilateral highway between Moreh (India) and Maesot (Thailand) though Bagan (Myanmar) was discussed. The first phase of construction started in 2004 at a cost of $700 million. The 1,360-km-long highway project was envisaged to link the three countries. In the meeting, promotion of the Buddhist tourist circuit in the North East, was discussed. It was also agreed that eco-tourism would be a priority.
The Thai government has a capacity building programme under which Northeastern states could be involved. Mr Handique had said that youth exchange programmes could open new cooperation avenues. A cultural group from Thailand can also participate in the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. Efforts are on to bring a cultural troupe from Myanmar for the Hornbill Festival.
A series of high-level business summits has been held with Thailand for promotion of trade and investment in the North East. It has resulted in some MoUs and investments. Both sides agreed that the focus should be to consolidate and carry forward the interactions in the identified areas of infrastructure like roads, inland waterways, tourism, agro and food processing and energy (mini hydel projects).