North East in India’s Look East : Issues and Opportunities

Country: India

City: Itanagar

Abstr. due: 17.07.2014

Dates: 07.08.14 — 10.08.14

Address: 29, Brahmapur Govt. Colony, Bansdroni Kolkata 700070

Organizing comittee e-mail: info@jair.net.in

Organizers: ITR

 

The new geopolitical imagination set off by the new policy thinking envisages a space that apparently refuses to be bound by the present geography of the Northeast as much as it promises to spread across the international borders to the countries of Southeast Asia through such frontline states as Myanmar and Bangladesh. The extended Northeast as being officially imagined now has therefore a mnemonic effect insofar as it offers a significant cue to the alternative modalities of imagining the Northeast. The North-East of India is the bridge between two sub-regions of Asia – South Asia and South-East Asia. Both regions are in the midst of tremendous positive change, spurred by economic growth and development. For various reasons, the details of which you are well aware, we in India have so far to a large extent not been able to leverage the various opportunities that this sub-region of India offers for the well-being and prosperity of the people who live here. Amongst the opportunities we should seize are not only the geographical factor of being a bridgehead between South-Asia and South-East Asia, but also the natural and human resources of the Seven Sisters of the North-East. Today’s challenge is to harness these opportunities to ensure that growth and development does not bypass this region but passes by this region. It is encouraging to note in this context the role BIMSTEC and other regional initiatives are attempting to play in truly linking this region not only to other parts of India but beyond India.
There has been growing realization on the part of Indian policy makers that development of physical connectivity with Southeast Asia is a prerequisite to fully harness the opportunities provided by ‘Look East Policy’. In order to make the ‘Look East Policy’ relevant for the region, India has laid greater emphasis on enhancing connectivity through all the possible modes of infrastructure development such as land routes, railways, air connectivity, waterways, energy infrastructure development both in field of hydroelectric and hydrocarbon and telecommunication linkages. As a result, India has initiated some bilateral projects and also become party to some multilateral projects, aimed at enhancing connectivity between the Northeast and Southeast Asia. In other words, with the paradigm shift from a state-centered approach to one of interdependence and global and regional cooperation, we have become all the more aware of the geo-economic potential of the North-Eastern region as a gateway to East and South-East Asia. This is a fact that by gradually integrating this region through cross-border market access, the North-Eastern states can become the bridge between the Indian economy and what is arguably the fastest growing and most dynamic region in the world.
Moreover, the strategic, political and economic importance of Northeast for India’s Look East Policy cannot be overemphasized. It not only provides an opportunity to consolidate India’s relations with the near South East Asian Countries, but it also holds immense potential for trade expansion and regional development for the North East of India within the framework of BIMSTEC, Mekong Ganga Project, K2K, and other initiatives.
It has been often claimed that South East Asia begins in the North East of India. Geo-strategically North East India is therefore integral to the BIMSTEC initiative. As the current phase of India’s Look East Policy seeks to entrench as well as diversify India’s relations with the countries of East Asia, considerable attention needs to be paid to channelise the political-economic benefits towards the North Eastern Region.
In this context, this Seminar seeks to investigate the opportunities for North East India within the Look East Policy framework.
The seminar will cover the following areas:
Trade & Investment Tourism
Transport & Communication Technology
Energy Fisheries
Agriculture Protection of Biodiversity/ Environment and Natural Disaster Management
Public Health Culture
Poverty Alleviation People to People Contact
Counter – Terrorism and Transnational Crimes


B. Objectives

In specific terms, the Seminar aims to identify opportunities, challenges and action plans for enabling an economic integration of the North Eastern Region with Bangladesh and ASEAN countries. The following are the key objectives of the International Seminar.

• Create a Platform for decision makers and stakeholders for different segments to converge and discuss opportunities for greater and beneficial engagement between the North Eastern Region and BIMSTEC and ASEAN countries.

• In this context, discuss specific opportunities, challenges, and issues for expanding trade and economic cooperation between NER, BIMSTEC and ASEAN countries, with special reference to potential sectors for cooperation, transport linkages and infrastructure as well as trade facilitation requirements.

• Discuss further engagement possibilities beyond trade and investment related to social upliftment of the population in both the region as well as people to people exchanges.

• Bring out a set of specific recommendations for action and interventions on bilateral and multilateral base including role and responsible identification.

C. Scope & Coverage

The seminar is envisioned to focus on the following sub-themes:
Day I
• India’s “Look East Policy – Past trends and Future prospects
• North East India’s economic development in the context of other regional agreements
Day II
• Cooperation between NER and BIMSTEC and ASEAN countries in trade & investment in defined sectors – opportunities and challenges.
• Emerging issues related to cross border trade and investments – infrastructure, land routes and logistical issues, border management and trade facilitation issues.
Day III
• Cooperation possibilities in non trade areas such as Energy, forest resources, public health, institutional partnerships, culture and people to people exchanges.

 

G. Registration Policies & Procedures

• Please register early. Early registration guarantees inclusion in the conference program.

• Registration: One registration form per person. Forms may be duplicated.

• Registration confirmation: A confirmation of conference registration will be e-mailed or Faxed within 48 hours of receipt of registration. Please provide a fax number or e-mail address on each registration form to receive confirmation.

Conference Web-Site: http://jair.net.in/Conferences