Ministers' forum welcomes proposal to extend ASEAN highway to Guwahati
The proposal to extend the trans ASEAN highway up to Assam's main city Guwahati, through Nagaland and Manipur, was today welcomed by chairman of North East states' commerce ministers' forum Pradyut Bordoloi.
Addressing a news conference here, Mr Bordoloi, also the Power and Commerce minister of Assam, said the proposal to extend the ASEAN highway was a positive development for NE.
The two-day summit of India-ASEAN heads of states at New Delhi, on the first day yesterday, had adopted a mission statement which included, among other proposals, the extension of the ASEAN highway till Guwahati, through Moreh (Manipur) and Nagaland.
Mr Bordoloi said this proposal will open up NE states which were till now geographically isolated as it was connected to the mainland India only through a 12 mile stretch and the international borders of the region, which constitute nearly 98 per cent of its boundaries, were closed.
He said the state government has also presented proposal for linking up with the ASEAN railway network through Myanmar. 'Assam has its broad gauge railway linkage till the easternmost tip of Ledo and Myanmar's network starts from Dali. A stretch of 145 km through Patkai range is missing and we have proposed to the Centre government to connect it,' Mr Bordoloi added.
The Minister said the Free Trade Agreements and similar pacts with the ASEAN will benefit NE by putting it in centrestage as the region was the closest part of India geographically to ASEAN.
He added that similar trade pacts with SAARC will also benefit NE by reaffirming its advantageous geographical position.