Guwahati, Jan 28 : A majority of participants at the North-east India Investment Summit held here recently favoured permanent peace to promote the development of the region.
People from USA, UK, Austria, Singapore, UAE, Australia and Switzerland came to attend the first ever summit aimed at drawing investment for the region.
More than 70 NRIs participated in the summit and exhibited their eagerness to bring the north-east on the road to development.
Omar Hejazeen, CEO, ORYX Production, Dubai, said: "First the development should come then the peace will also follow. One shouldn't wait for the peace to be restored to the region first."
North-east Chamber of Commerce and Development President D K Sharma said: "Investors are not much bothered about security. All over the world, security is a problem. Once investors come to the region, development will take place. Once the development takes place, insurgency and militancy will automatically go away."
Some of the NRIs also belonged to Nagaland. Nagaland is pushing aggressively for investment in the State. The peace process and reconciliation among the warring Naga factions have created a congenial atmosphere for economic development.
Nagaland Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation Managing Director Hushili Sema said: "Law and order is a very important aspect. Without peace there cannot be any development. Without peace, people would be apprehensive about coming and investing."
Rozzel Mero, a Naga NRI, said: "When there is a desire to build economy, there is always a solution. We have a goldmine to be trapped. Why the people shouldn't come and invest here? And security should be the least problem."
Assam Confederation of Indian Industries Chairman Abhijeet Baruah said: "There are pockets in the Northeast, where security is a problem, simultaneously there are vast areas where security is not a problem. For that matter no part of the world is free from violence today. Similarly, in some pockets of North-east, we have violence but vast majority doesn't have violence or similar problems."
The success of the 'Look East' policy depends on the development of infrastructure in the region. The Central Government plans to invest Rs. 50,000 crore in the north-east over the next five years to strengthen basic infrastructure. Out off the 23 airports in the region, only 11 are operational. Plans are already in place to make others operational.
Arunachal Pradesh has bid for power projects that aim to generate as much as 30,000 Mega Watt. Tata Consultancy Services is set to sign an agreement with IIT Guwahati to establish a Centre for Human Resource Development. Besides, Gen Pact, a BPO company, intends to set up shop in Meghalaya. By Peter Alex Todd