The Sangai festival kicked off in Manipur’s capital Sunday, with Burmese ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung highlighting that India’s northeast represents the heart of the Act East policy and appealed to enhance connectivity between India and ASEAN to bring prosperity to the region.
The festival was inaugurated by chief minister N. Biren Singh in the presence of the ambassador and high commissioners of Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Brunei and Singapore. Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary, DGP, top civil and police officials also attended the function.
Stressing on the growing importance of the region, Aung maintained that increasing border trade between India, Myanmar and Thailand (IMT) would enhance the existing trade and economic linkages and markets.
Currently, Myanmar has established two border trade point with India and seven with Thailand, he added.
The ambassador further added that the three countries have been promoting cooperation in the area of connectivity including the 1300 km long trilateral highway project.
He informed that during the declaration of India-ASEAN commemoration summit, the resolution to encourage early completion of IMT projects and extension. A possible extension of the IMT highway to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam is also under consideration, he added.
The Myanmar ambassador further informed that a consensus has been reached on finalising the final proposed protocol of IMT motor vehicle agreement as it would further help in the transformation of link to the development corridor between India and ASEAN through both, the land border and air connectivity.
“We are hopeful of sheer prosperity for the entire region can be achieved through connectivity corridor by furthering collaboration among India and ASEAN,” he added.
Unlike previous years, very few people turned up at the festival venue owing to the boycott call of the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI). The group has appealed the public not to participate in the festival.
COCOMI has been demanding the state to pressure the Central Government to disclose the terms and determination of the recently concluded Indo-Naga peace talks on October 31 and to convene an emergency Assembly session.