Myanmar a key pillar of Act East policy: Jitendra Singh


New Delhi, April 23: Myanmar is a key pillar of India’s Act East policy as it connects the northeastern states with Southeast Asia via land route, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said today.
The Act East policy is an effort by India to boost its influence through economic and strategic linkages with the neighbouring Southeast Asian sub-region. It was originally conceived as an economic initiative, but has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.
Addressing a conference on ‘India-Myanmar Trade and Connectivity’, organised by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi, Singh said the Act East policy is crucial to the entire Southeast Asia.
Myanmar is one of the key pillars of the policy, since it connects India with Southeast Asian countries through land – via the northeastern states of India. A significant fact is that many states in the region share a common border with Myanmar, he said.
The minister for Development of North-Eastern Region DoNER), emphasised the policy effectively goes beyond the eastern borders and it is essential aimed at promoting the potential of the region on this side of the border.
Myanmar is not only geographically a proximate country with strong historical and economic linkages but the people on two sides of the border share common lifestyle, food habits and cultural traits, he said.
The DoNER minister said any meaningful trade engagement with Myanmar can be done primarily through products and goods inherent to the northeastern states.
Myanmar is also a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It joined the ASEAN in July 1997, making up what is today the 10-member ASEAN grouping. (PTI)