President Ram Nath Kovind said on Monday the north-east region would soon become a driver of international trade and commerce following the development of infrastructure carried out by the Centre and state governments.
Speaking at the closing function of the three-day Namami Barak Festival in Silchar in southern Assam, President Kovind also said there was tremendous potential for growth of businesses and trade between south-east Asia and north-east India due to strong and robust connectivity.
“The region has to take advantage of its geographical location. There is tremendous potential for growth of business and trade links between south-east Asia and the north-east region of India. With the development of infrastructure by the Union and state governments, this region will become a driver of international trade and commerce,” he said.
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Kovind made special mention of southern Assam, which shares its boundary with Bangladesh and is also close to Myanmar, saying the geographic location of the Barak Valley gave it the potential to become a hub for interstate and international trade.
“Several connectivity-related initiatives have been taken to achieve this potential. The northeastern part of the East-West Corridor, which runs from Cachar in Assam to Kutch in Gujarat, starts from Silchar. A broad-gauge railway line connecting Agartala to Delhi passes through the Barak Valley. All this will benefit business and tourism,” he said.
Speaking on cross-border initiatives undertaken by the government, the president said trade with Bangladesh was being promoted through the Border Trade Centre located in Karimganj district in southern Assam.
Speaking at Gauhati University later in the day, Kovind said Assam’s tourism industry had immense scope for bringing about economic development. “This state is already an important part of the tourist map due to Kaziranga and Manas National Parks. I am confident that by facilitating the right ecosystem for tourism, the government of Assam will be able to multiply the economic and social benefits of the tourism industry,” he said.