DIPR IMPHAL, 4th May: Moreh town could emerge as a support centre for trade promotion activities by having commodity exchanges, logistics servicing and warehousing facilities as well as to provide a transportation support hub in the implementation of the Act East Policy, Chief Minister N Biren Singh has said during an ‘Interactive Session with Chief Ministers of Northeastern States on Act East Policy’ at New Delhi on Friday.
Speaking at the meet, CM Biren stressed that Moreh town should be developed with multi-specialty hospitals, diagnostic centres, educational institutions etc., catering to the needs of Upper Myanmar, while informing that availing of banking facilities, easy payment modalities, quick food safety checks, single window clearances for transaction and bringing transactional costs to the minimum would boost the border trade activities.
He further stated that Moreh town could be treated as a buffer area where Myanmarese nationals, with a pass issued by authorities based on their ID cards, could visit for a specified limited duration. He also mentioned that the Integrated Check Post at Moreh is to be made fully functional at the earliest, while suggesting that there should be a single head for each border trade Land Customs Stations (LCS) or Integrated Check Post (ICP) at appropriate level from either the Ministry of Commerce or any other Governmental Department.
Biren opined that upgrade of the 110 km Imphal-Moreh highway (NH39) to full double lane/four lane highway standards with paved shoulders should also be given priority to enhance trade connectivity between the two countries. He also said that Imphal-Silchar stretch of NH-53 should be improved as Imphal-Dimapur route suffers constant landslides during rainy season.
He further stressed that signing of ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement and its implementation in phases will accelerate the economic integration of North-eastern India with ASEAN countries, as India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway would open new possibilities for trade investment.
Biren also suggested that a high level inter-ministerial body with the participation of Manipur and Mizoram governments should be constituted to devise and implement appropriate strategy for the success of Act East Policy. Such committee may closely monitor the progress of various connectivity projects, he added.
Biren categorically stressed the need of India and Myanmar land connectivity on three fronts viz. Border trading point at Moreh in Manipur and Tamu in Sagaing Division of Myanmar, trading point at Zokhawthar in Mizoram and Rhi in Chin State of Myanmar and Kaladan Multi Model Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), as these connectivity projects can bring about a sea change towards enabling greater trade and economic activity.
Chaired by Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, the interactive session was also attended by Union Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh.
Apart from works minister Th Biswajit, the interactive session was also attended by Niti Ayog vice-chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar, Chief Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam), Conrad Sangma (Meghalaya), Neiphiu Rio (Nagaland), Biplab Kumar Deb (Tripura) and Arunachal Pradesh Dy CM Chowna Mein.
The meeting followed up on an earlier meeting chaired by Sushma Swaraj with the Governors of NE states in November 2017.
Sushma Swaraj said that state governments of the northeast region are active stakeholders in India’s Act East Policy. Greater connectivity and economic integration of India's North East with its eastern neighbours was considered a key focus area for growth and development of the region. India’s Act East Policy had received a major boost following the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, which was held in New Delhi on 25 January 2018.
The meeting deliberated on the North Eastern region’s intra-regional and sub-regional surface and air linkages, focusing on seamless connectivity with its contiguous neighbourhood. Continued development of relevant infrastructure both within the state and at international borders was also discussed with a view to enhancing trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people ties.