Gandhinagar, September 14 (IANS) With the setting up of a new India Japan Act East Forum, Japan is set to play a more proactive role in the development of northeastern India.
Among the 15 agreements signed after the annual India-Japan bilateral summit here on Thursday, one is on setting up the India Japan Act East Forum “to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in the northeastern region of India in an efficient and effective manner”.
A joint statement issued following the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe said both leaders “welcomed the India-Japan cooperation on development of India’s northeastern region as a concrete symbol of developing synergies between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy”.
“In this context, they noted with satisfaction the setting up of the India Japan Act East Forum,” it stated.
According to the statement , Modi and Abe appreciated the cooperation between Japan and northeastern India, ranging from key infrastructure such as road connectivity, electricity, water supply and sewage, to social and environmental sustainability such as afforestation and community empowerment, as well as people-to-people exchanges, including inviting youth from the the Northeast to Japan.
“We agreed to work in a much more focused and substantive way in the Northeast,” Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said while briefing the media after the summit.
“To that end, we agreed on a India Japan Act East Forum which will essentially explore the possibilities of involving Japan in northeastern infrastructure,” Jaishankar said.
He said that development of infrastructure in the northeastern region would help India open out much more to Myanmar, Bangladesh and beyond.
“So it would in a practical way it really give legs to our Act East Policy,” the Foreign Secretary said.
He said that though Japan has been assisting northeastern India in road infrastructure, the intent this time was to take it to a much higher level.