Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio pitched for improvement of road infrastructure along the areas bordering Myanmar. He was speaking at the interactive session on ‘Act East Policy’ chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Friday.
Pointing out that Nagaland shares around 215 kms of border with Myanmar and people on both sides share the same culture and languages, Rio said the free Movement Regime will facilitate travel across the two countries. However, he said the government needs to ensure that ordinary villagers are not inconvenienced even as security issues are important, especially with regard to presence of NSCN (K) on the Myanmar side.
Stating that India has made considerable progress in implementing the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multimodal Project, the CM said 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 Vietnam is also under consideration,” Rio said.
Referring to the consensus reached on finalizing the proposed protocol of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement (IMT MVA), he opined that this agreement would play a crucial role in realizing seamless movement of passengers, personal and cargo vehicles along roads linking India, Myanmar and Thailand.
On the discussion on connectivity, Rio said it is important that the survey is done in a way that the roads cover the villages and habitations. The most important road connecting India and Myanmar is NH 29 connecting Dimapur with Kohima and Imphal and onwards to Moreh, he added.
During the interactive session, Swaraj 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.