India’s Act East policy to boost connectivity: Jaitley

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 03, 2017

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing the SASEC meeting in New Delhi on Monday   -  Ramesh Sharma

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday expressed hope that India’s Act East policy will help improve connectivity and relations amongst South East and East Asian countries.

“Improved access to gateway ports, particularly in Bangladesh and Myanmar, may help unleash the latent potential of agro and forest-based industries in India’s North East region,” he said at the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme.

The seven-member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar —have also launched the SASEC Vision that aims to expand trade and commerce to regional and global markets, which can generate around $70 billion in incremental GDP annually and 20 million total jobs by 2025.

Jailtey said that India has always played a pro-active role in supporting its neighbours, including in crises such as the earthquake in Nepal, tsunami in Sri Lanka and cyclone in Bangladesh.

He also expressed hope that India’s “Bharatmala” programme will provide last-mile connectivity to major border points and trade routes connecting our neighbours. He also said that power trade would help the member countries to gain energy security. India and Nepal are building a cross-border power transmission line for electricity distribution from power projects being developed in Nepal.

“I am confident we will be able to fully harness the hydropower potential of the region and act as a bridge connecting power surplus and power deficient regions,” Jaitley said.

He also and stressed that the combined strength of the group would help in greater synergy and transform the economic landscape of the region.

SASEC was originally founded 16 years ago by four nations — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.

Published on April 03, 2017
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