Meghalaya Guv urges people to ''look for prosperity''

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Shillong, Aug 10 (UNI) As policy makers are still debating on India's ''Look East Policy'', Meghalaya Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary has urged the common people of the northeastern states to ''look for prosperity'', which the country currently needed.

Mr Mooshahary was deliberating on the policies relating to ''Look East'' or ''Look South,'' at the the valedictory function of the two-day national seminar on ''Look South - A Meghalaya Perspective,'' here yesterday.

He said it was in 1992, the ''Look East Policy'' was formulated by former Prime Minister (late) PV Narasimha Rao, for giving a boost to the trade between India and the south-east countries of Asia.

The two-day national seminar was organised by St Edmund's College, one of Meghalaya's premiere educational institutions and the region as a whole.

Mr Mooshahary, however, rued that it took 16 years for the ''grand vision twenty-twenty document'' for helping the north eastern region (NER) to reap the benefits of economic reform, including the Look East policy.

The former National Security Guard Chief also spoke of the initiatives being undertaken for improving trade links between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with the main thrust on the 'four Ts,'' namely, trade, transit, transportation and tourism.

In a bid to improve trade relations with ASEAN countries, he said the emphasis on using the NER as corridor would not be of any benefit unless the region had a stake in it.

Mr Mooshahary also said Meghalaya's economic growth depended on its trade with Assam and Bangladesh.

One area which Mr Mooshahary felt could be fully exploited was the region's tourism potential, from which Bangladesh could also benefit, provided the sense of apprehension in that country was removed.

Together with attempts to promote trade relations with India, effort should also be made to help Bangladesh improve economically, according to Mr Mooshahary.

''An improvement of living conditions will reduce infiltration across the borders, '' he added.

Stating that Meghalaya's trade with Bangladesh, mostly based on minerals, was over Rs 300 crore, Mr Mooshahary said, ''There is hardly anything from Bangladesh.'' Commenting on the border fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border, Mr Mooshahary, who was the former Director General of Border Security Force, maintained that it was India's understanding that ''good fences make good neighbours,'' Justifying the need of border fencing, he felt that it was necessary for checking border crimes like cattle lifting, smuggling and other cross-country crimes.

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