Arunahcal Pradesh deputy CM Chowna Mein (centre) at the event in Guwahati on Sunday.

Arunahcal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein on Friday said that the “Act East Policy of the Government of India would be a game changer for the Northeast.”

Mein said this while addressing a seminar on the “Role of Tai Community on the Act East Policy border” in Guwahati.

He said the Tai Community residing in NE states of India can act as a bridge between India and ASEAN nations because of the cultural similarities, food habits and dialects/language it shares with the people across the borders.

“Cultural similarity between the people of ASEAN countries and Northeast should become the fulcrum of our friendship and the bedrock of all our policies – both diplomatic and economic.”

He further urged the Centre to consider re–opening the Stilwell Road up to Kunming in China.

“The people living across the international boundaries of India and Myanmar have common cultural ties, and it would act as catalyst for cross border trade,” he said.

The historic Stilwell Road or Ledo Road that was constructed during the World War II starts from Ledo in Assam, passing through Pangsau Pass (Nampong) in Arunachal Pradesh and leads up to Kunming in China through Myanmar passing through many important towns in Myanmar.

Mein said that it is high time we should give paramount importance to re- opening of the Stilwell road and emphasis be given on priority for restoration of this road by both the countries, India and Myanmar as it would be mutually beneficial for both sides.

“The road would further deepen the age-old cultural linkage and help promote spiritual tourism,” he added.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com