Nagaland CM Rio presses for development along eastern corridor

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TNT Desk | New Delhi, May 05, 2018: 

Chief Minister Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio has said that while Nagaland shares around 215 kms of border with Myanmar and that people on both sides share the same culture and languages, the free Movement Regime will facilitate travel across the two countries – however there is a need to take up improvement of road infrastructure in the areas.

Speaking at the interactive session on 'Act East Policy' chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday at New Delhi, Rio said that while security issues are important, especially with regard to presence of NSCN (K) on Myanmar side, the Government needs to ensure that ordinary villagers are not inconvenienced.

The Chief Minister mentioned that while India has made considerable progress in implementing the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multimodal Project, issues related to increasing maritime and air connectivity between ASEAN countries and India and transforming the corridors of connectivity into economic corridors need to be fast-forwarded. A possible extension to India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam is also under consideration, Rio said.

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Referring to the consensus reached on finalizing the proposed protocol of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement (IMT MVA), the Chief Minister opined that this agreement will play a critical role in realizing seamless movement of passengers, personal and cargo vehicles along roads linking India, Myanmar and Thailand.

On the discussion on connectivity, Rio mentioned that it is important that the survey is done in a way that the roads cover the villages and habitations as roads are meant to serve people. The most important road connecting India and Myanmar is NH 29 connecting Dimapur with Kohima and Imphal and onwards to Moreh. While 4 laning of Dimapur – Kohima is under progress and Imphal – Moreh has been approved – there is a need to ensure that Kohima – Imphal 4 laning is also taken up.

During the interactive session, Minister External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also laid down the detailed agenda for engaging with the key stakeholders – people of the North Eastern Region for the Act East Policy with the objective of enhancing Political Security Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, and Socio Cultural Cooperation.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj chaired an interactive session on 'Act East Policy' with Chief Ministers of North Eastern States on the agenda to integrate views of the North East into the Act East Policy. Other NE Chief Ministers who attended included Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam), N. Biren Singh (Manipur), Conrad Sangma (Meghalaya) and Biplab Kumar Deb (Tripura) etc who also took part in the session. Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog and Gen (Dr) VK Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs. Foreign Secretary, Secretary (East) from the Ministry of External Affairs as well as Secretaries from the Ministry of DoNER, and North Eastern Council along with officials from Civil Aviation, Ministry of Home, Road Transport & Highways took part in the discussions.

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