The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Northeast on Advani feel-good radar

New Delhi, Jan. 21: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today sought to build a feel-good bridge with the Northeast, saying the cheer in the air must reach all corners of the country.

“The feel good feeling must be all pervasive. It should percolate down to all corners of the country, including the Northeast. This is important in view of the psychological distance between the region and the rest of the country,” Advani said.

He added that the NDA government has consistently sought to eliminate the perception by initiating several measures.

Speaking at the valedictory session of the second Northeast Business Summit, the deputy Prime Minister made a case for stronger economic ties between Asean and the Northeast.

“The Northeast region is close to the Asean members, and India’s “Look East” policy has brought us much closer to this region. The Northeast must promote stronger business ties with the Asean. By projecting all the eight states as a region, you gain significantly in terms of a larger market and enhanced prospects for potential investors. Across the world, regional cooperation has become a new economic driver,” he told an audience at Hotel Ashok.

He said that being “blessed” with several advantages like energy potential, a large agriculture base and skilled manpower, the region could be the “envy” of many nations.

The two-day summit attracted around 1,700 participants. A total of 19 memoranda of understanding was signed between business houses and state governments.

Impressed by the positive response to the conclave, Advani suggested that the summit should be “institutionalised” and made into a regular feature. “There should be another event before December. Let this be converted into an effective and permanent mechanism,” he said.

The Northeast, according to the deputy Prime Minister, has witnessed a significant transformation due to measures taken by the state and central governments. He said that the peace process was on a “firm footing” and urged other neighbouring countries to emulate the Bhutan example to flush out militants.

Making a case for concerted measures by governments and companies, he said a “joint agenda” based on the gains from the summit would help remove bottlenecks.

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