Ahead of the annual summit between India and Japan next month, both countries have agreed for deeper cooperation in various sectors including building infrastructure in north eastern region, forest management projects of Tripura and Meghalaya, at the 2nd meeting of “Japan-India Act East Forum” earlier this week in New Delhi.
Besides deciding to improve connectivity in North East Region, a new initiative to utilize bamboo which is abundant in the region and to people-to-people exchanges was also discussed.
Under the co-chairmanship of Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu and Foreign Secretary Vijay K Gokhale, connectivity concerns, prioritisation of assistance to the North East region, were on the table for discussions between the two sides.
According to a senior diplomat, Ambassador Hiramatsu of Japan emphasized the breadth of cooperation in the north east region — ranging from connectivity to people-to-people exchanges.
A MoU was inked in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Sept 2017 at the end of the annual summit had agreed to establish the India-Japan Act East Forum.
In 2017, the Act East Forum aiming to provide a platform for India-Japan collaboration under the rubric of India’s “Act East Policy” and Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” was set up. The aim is to identify specific projects for economic modernization of India’s North-East region including those pertaining to connectivity, developmental infrastructure, industrial linkages as well as people-to-people contacts through tourism, culture and sports-related activities.
As has been reported by FE earlier, Japan has been involved in a several infrastructure related projects in the region as this would help India in reaching out to Myanmar, Bangladesh and others.
The Forum is comprised of Embassy of Japan and other government-affiliated Japanese organizations based in New Delhi from Japan’s side; MEA and other relevant government offices as well as State governments of the NER from India’s side.
The forum is comprised of Embassy of Japan and other government-affiliated Japanese organizations based in New Delhi from Japan’s side; the Ministry of External Affairs and other relevant government offices as well as State governments of the north eastern region. Also, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Home Affairs are part of this forum.