NE needs to be part of Look East Policy: Pawar

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Shillong, Oct 13: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has asserted that the Northeastern region should be a part of the economic ties and trade expansion strategies in the second phase of the Look East Policy. ''The region has been identified as the transit point for trade on the eastern contiguous borders to usher in a new era of economic growth in the country,'' Mr Pawar said, while releasing the book ''Look East Policy: Impact on North East'' here recently.

Mr Pawar said the main objective of involving the region in the trade expansion strategy was to enable it to act as a transit centre for trade to usher in a new era of economic growth.

''The Centre gave this policy a thrust by becoming a summit-level partner of ASEAN in 2002, a member of the East Asia Summit in 2005 and also took up regional initiatives, including the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMST-EC) and Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC),'' he said.

India had also entered into a number of bilateral pacts and free trade agreements with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to facilitate trade, investment and economic cooperation.

Mr Pawar, however, expressed disappointment with the slow implementation of these agreements due to resistance from the industries which feared dumping of cheaper imports and mandatory domestic political compulsions which inhibit the pace of economic reforms.

Stating that the NE shared only two per cent of its borders with the mainland and 98 per cent with neighbouring countries, the Union Minister said the region will benefit a lot from the Look East Policy.

UNI

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