Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla today emphasised that the South East Asian countries promised a vast market for the products in the North East.
After inaugurating a two-day international seminar on Exploring ASEAN Market for Indias North East Product at the Mizoram University here, Mr Thanhawla said the ASEAN market was wide open to the products of agriculture, horticulture, handicraft and handloom of the northeastern region. He also stressed on the need for setting up infrastructures so that the region benefited from trade with the ASEAN countries.
”Agriculture export zone needs to be set up, at least, in two states- Mizoram and Meghalaya – to promote the local products in agriculture and its allied sectors, handloom and handicraft,” he said, adding it would be crucial to give larger opportunities to the people of the NE region in the Look East Policy.
The seminar was organised by the UN Centre for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in association with the economic department of Mizoram University, with a sole objective to analyse the economic potential of the northeastern region in the context of India’s growing commercial relation with ASEAN.
It also aimed at exploring the ASEAN market for existing products from the northeastern states of India and identifying potential products that required value addition to export for ASEAN market.
Mizoram University Vice-Chancellor Prof A. N. Rai and Dr. Shahid Ahmed from UNCTAD, New Delhi, also delivered speeches at the inaugural function chaired by Prof Lianzela of the varsity’s economic department.
”The regions climatic condition and its topography are suitable for horticultural development, plantation crops, vegetables, spices, rare herbs, and medicinal plants. Vibrant agro-processing zones may emerge across the region,” Prof Lianzela said, while delivering his speech. The regions rare flora and fauna and its natural scenic beauty offer an ideal place for eco-tourism, he felt. The region, being inhabited by people with diverse culture, is endowed with unique performing arts, varied cuisine and handicrafts, which add to potential of tourism. The region being located in close proximity with South West China and Southeast Asia may attract investors, while the existence of a large number of educated classes, who speak English, is an added advantage for investors. Blessed with a huge hydropower potentials and natural resources like oil, natural gas, coal and limestone, the perennial water resources in the river Bramaputra and its tributaries add to the region’s potential for becoming the country’s powerhouse in near future.
The seminar was attended by about 30 selected experts from the US, Bhutan and reputed institutes in India like RBI, IIM (Ahmedabad), IIFT (New Delhi), CUTS International (Jaipur) and different universities, IITs and colleges in the northeastern region.
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