Secretary (East) in Ministry of External Affairs Riva Ganguly Das has addressed the inaugural session of Webinar on Connectivity Cooperation for a Free, Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific. It was organised by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) in collaboration with Embassy of Japan, New Delhi and Ministry of External Affairs.
Underscoring the importance of Connectivity in the Indo-Pacific Region, Ms Das highlighted India’s initiatives to promote connectivity and welcomed Japan’s lead on the Connectivity Pillar of Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative IPOI, which would boost connectivity cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Secretary said, robust connectivity with countries of the region, near or far, is deep rooted in Indian civilizational history. She said, beyond the borders, India has devoted more resources and assigned greater priority to building connectivity in our immediate neighbourhood. She said, since 2005-06, India has extended Lines of Credit worth nearly 31 billion dollars to more than 64 countries. The Secretary said, India’s Act East Policy is at the centre of the connectivity orientation and a fulcrum of the broader approach to the Indo-Pacific.
Ms Das said, starting from the neighbouring countries, Integrated Check Posts are being constructed or expanded to facilitate trade and mobility along the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar. Rail and Road Inland waterway Connectivity agreements are being improved with Nepal and Bangladesh.
The Secretary said, towards the west, India is developing the Chabahar Port as a gateway for onward connectivity to and from Afghanistan and Central Asia. It has potential to be an important link in the International North South Transport Corridor.
She said, towards the South, Sri Lanka and Maldives are the focus of our maritime connectivity efforts in the Indo-Pacific Region.
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