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Northeast India gateway to Southeast Asia under Act East Policy: PM Modi in Bangkok

"Our focus is to connect India's northeast with Thailand. northeast is being developed as a gateway to south-east Asia. This initiative will immensely strengthen India's act east policy and Thailand's Act West Policy," PM Modi said in his address ...

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 03, 2019, 03.32 PM IST
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ASEAN lies at core of India's Act East Policy: PM Modi
ASEAN lies at core of India's Act East Policy: PM Modi
NEW DELHI: Northeast India is being developed as a gateway to Southeast Asia under Central government's Act East Policy (AEP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, and added that the plans are on cards to establish seamless connectivity between Thailand, Myanmar and northeast India in the years to come.

"Our focus is to connect India's northeast with Thailand. northeast is being developed as a gateway to south-east Asia. This initiative will immensely strengthen India's act east policy and Thailand's Act West Policy," Modi said in his address at the 'Sawasdee PM Modi' event in Bangkok on day one of his visit for ASEAN, EAS and RCEP Summits.

“This is my first official visit to Thailand, and I can feel a lot of Indianness here. The entire world celebrated Diwali along with India, and I can see that it was the case here too," he said at 'Sawasdee PM Modi', an event held to interact with members of the Indian community in Bangkok on the first day of his visit to the Southeast Asian country.

Describing the strong ties that bind India with Thailand, Modi noted that even Queen Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is a Sanskrit scholar with a deep India connect. "Friends, have you given a thought to how strong our relationship has become? What's the reason for this? There is a simple answer for this: Our relationship is not one that exists between governments. Through all of history, because of every historical incident, our relations have been lifted to new heights," he said, even as the crowds responded with loud chants of "Modi, Modi".

"You have wished me Sawasdee Modi, but do you know what it means? This Sanskrit word -- a combination of the words su and asthi -- means kalyan (welfare)," he said.

Modi said that while the ties between the two countries are strong, his government wants to bring them even closer by transforming India's Northeast region into a gateway to Southeast Asia. "Once the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway is opened, there will be seamless connectivity between both our countries. I am glad that all of you will have a chance to be part of this story," he said.

The issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which was recently shorn of its special status and bifurcated into two distinct union territories, also came up in his address. "We are working towards achieving goals that used to appear impossible to achieve. You must be aware that my government has taken a decision to end one of the root causes of separatism and terrorism in the country," he said.

Modi said that Indians can today proclaim their nationality before other foreigners with pride, knowing that the country is advancing at full speed. "When an Indian says something these days, the world listens closely. You must have seen this in Thailand too," he said.

“India is the world's biggest democracy, and in this year's elections, our people blessed me even more than last time. And it makes me proud to say that more people came out to vote this time than ever in our post-Independence history," he said, listing out the various welfare projects introduced by his government in India.

The Prime Minister will attend the 16th ASEAN-India Summit, the 14th East Asia Summit and the third summit meeting of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as part of his three-day visit to Thailand. He will also participate in a special leaders' luncheon organised by his Thai counterpart, Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Monday.

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