STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 25th Nov:
Chief minister N Biren and deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar stressed the need for cementing relationships between Manipur and south-east countries like Myanmar and Thailand to realise the comnon goal of economic prosperity.
Speaking at the exhibition football match played between women teams of Mandalay and Manipur at Khuman Lampak main stadium here on Saturday, Biren conveyed that the exhibition match was organised to enhance people-to-people contact between the two neighbouring countries on the backdrop of Government of India’s Act East Policy.
It is very much needed to have people-to-people contact in order to establish good relation amongst ourselves and also with people of other countries, Biren said in his address.
Expressing resentment over harassment of some North East youths during an ISL match at Chennai few days back, the chief minister said that he had written to the authority concerned to look into the matter while adding that his government is trying to promote Manipur’s hospitality, culture and scenic beauty to the world through Sangai Festival.
The chief minister also expressed pleasure over receiving good and positive responses/comments from the visitors who are visiting the state during the festival, and also from the delegates who had taken part in the just concluded North East Development Summit.
N Biren informed said that an interaction programme between the journalists of Myanmar and Manipur would be held on November 27 and 28.
YAS minister Letpao Haokip, CAF & PD minister Karam Shyam, convener of State Level Committee for Actualisation of Act East Policy RK Shivachandra and ISPE-MYDA director principal U Myo Myint Aung, MLAs, top civil and police officers also witnessed the match.
In his speech, Letpao Haokip said that as many as 75 top players of the state are currently taking part in different national and international tournaments. On seeing weaker Manipur team during the match, the minister said that state government would try to send maximum number of top players of the state for the friendly matches to be organised in Mandalay early next year.
U Shri Myo Myint Aung, while speaking at the friendly match, said that such initiatives would bring better relation between Manipur and Mandalay. On behalf of Mandalay people and government, U Myo Myint Aung invited chief minister N Biren and the people of Manipur to visit Mandalay to attend similar friendly matches to be played between Manipur and Mandalay on January 26 and 27 next year.
As a part of the ongoing annual tourism festival- Manipur Sangai Festival, 2017, the first match of 2nd Thailand-Manipur Sepak Takraw Exhibition Match was also played at the Indoor Hall of Khuman Lampak Sports Complex on Saturday.
Deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh , Forest Minister Th Shyamkumar, Minister Counsellor (Commercial) Royal Thai Embassy Tharadol Thongruang along with others officials from the Embassy and Kh Dorendra, president of All Manipur Sepak Takraw Association were present during the exhibition match, among others.
Speaking on the occasion, deputy CM Joykumar noted Manipur and South East Asian countries especially Thailand have so many common ways in terms of the way people are living and food habits.
He stated that medium of sports and culture are the means to assimilate each other and therefore, these are the areas where the Government is trying to work out plans. "It will help to enhance people to people contact among the neighbours, knowing each other and extending co-operation in the days to come," he said.
While asserting that students from Manipur and Thailand can exchange knowledge in various fields, Joykumar said the Government will definitely work out plans to enable exchange of students between Manipur and Thailand. Forest and Environment Minister Th Shyamkumar while welcoming the players from Thailand and other foreign delegates expressed that organising such events will help in understanding each other in cementing the bond of friendship and love among the people.
According to Tharadol Thongruang Thailand has so many resemblances with Manipur. He said people have almost the same in terms of living, food habits and other ways. "As Manipur is in the gateway to the South East Asia, it can play an important role in bringing a cordial relationship among the neighbours in the region. Connectivity has to be increased to enable free flow traffic between the countries," the Thailand Minister Counsellor said. He lauded the contribution and achievement of Manipuri sportspersons in the national and international level of competition.
While presentation of a colourful Khamba Thoibi Jagoi was the other highlight of the opening ceremony on Saturday, a group of students from Thailand will be performing classical dance on Sunday as a part of the valedictory function of the exhibition match.