Northeast India is a major beneficiary of the improvement in Bangladesh-India relations

Manjit Sing

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has commented that Northeast India is a major beneficiary of the dramatic improvement in Bangladesh-India relations. Partition of India, he claimed, had broken the natural connectivity of North-East India.

He made this comment at a function of Delhi University. NDTV reported this information in a report on Monday (April 29) night with reference to the Indian news agency PTI.

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Monday that the partition of India has broken the natural connectivity of the north-eastern states of the country in various ways. However, he claimed that the various efforts of the central government in the last decade have improved the resources of the area.

S Jaishankar said these while speaking at a program titled ‘Integration of Northeast India with Southeast Asia and Japan: Balancing Economic Ties and Environmental Conservation’ at Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, reports NDTV.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said India’s improved relations with neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Taiwan, among other East Asian countries, have strengthened New Delhi’s connectivity to the rest of the world over the past decade.

He said that the effect of partition i.e. partition of India primarily affected the development of North Eastern region due to political obstacles as well as administrative problems.

According to Jaishankar, ‘The natural connectivity that Northeast India had or the connectivity that the region enjoyed was broken in many ways by the partition of India. As a result, growth slowed to the extent it should have seen in the Northeast. In the first few decades after partition, the North-East did not benefit as much as other parts of the country due to political obstacles and administrative problems.’

This Union Minister of India also said that the current economic stability in India’s Northeast is moving towards a strong front. He said, if we look at the last decade, Northeast India has been a major beneficiary of the dramatic improvement in India-Bangladesh relations.

The Indian foreign minister said, ‘When we signed the land boundary agreement in 2015, a new level of trust and confidence was created between India and Bangladesh. We have seen many other problems being solved, especially those related to countering terrorism and instability.’

In his words, ‘What we are seeing now, to be honest, if history had been kind to us, it should have happened earlier. I always say, to look at India east, Delhi should first look east and look north-east. Only then will the potential of the North-East be fully and properly appreciated.’

Regarding Myanmar, S. Jaishankar said, India is trying to create a path of growth along with facing the ‘challenges’ there.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said, ‘Myanmar was a big challenge for us, we had several problems until democracy was restored. More serious problems have emerged in the past few years since the military took power. We are working to mitigate the consequences of those problems on our own borders. We have a big stake in connectivity through Myanmar.’

He further said, ‘If all these steps are fruitful and eastward through north-eastern Myanmar can be reached, while connecting Bangladesh to the south, then the whole of eastern India, including the sea coast of India, will be more intensively developed, which is the objective of the Modi government.’

Talking about the relationship between Japan and India, Jaishankar said that in 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked to set up a special forum with Japan. He said, it will be the only forum in India dedicated to the development of Northeast India and their connectivity with other connecting countries.

He said that this relationship has led to several bilateral developments, including the expansion of the Japanese language in many Indian institutions.

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