India’s Act East policy Current Affairs - 2020

Manipur- the major role player of Act East Policy

India has been focusing on Act East Policy lately with a strong motive of developing the North East. Out of all the North Eastern States, Manipur has evolved the major supporter of Act East Policy.

Measures

The GoI and the Manipur Government have taken several measures together in order to make the Act East Policy a big success. The integrated Check Post was inaugurated at Moreh, the Indo-Myanmar border. The Check post handles 99% of trade between Indian and Myanmar. The trade between the countries increased by 10% in a decade.

Both India and Myanmar have agreed to open nine borders between the countries. Two Hunar HAats have been established in the border districts of Manipur. Around 69 bridges have been constructed that helps in transiting to Myanmar and enhance border trade. Imphal-Mandalay flight services have begun.

Act East Policy

The Act East Policy was launched as the Look East Policy in 1991. Through the North East States India plans to increase its trade connectivity with ASEAN countries. The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit project, India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway are some of the projects that has taken trade between the countries to next level.

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World Bank’s 300 million USD plan to Develop Kolkata

The World Bank has submitted a master plan to develop logistics infrastructure of Kolkata metropolitan area. The bank is to invest 300 million USD in the project. The Government entities participating in the deal includes CII and the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.

The focus of the project is to be on construction of rail, road, industrial parks. The aim of the project is to improve competitiveness, increase employment.

Recent Infrastructural Developments in the region

  • The West Bengal Government has increased its infrastructure spending by five times in 2019 as compared to 2011.
  • The warehousing in the state has increased by 191%
  • The Inland Water Transport World Bank Project, Asian High way project, Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor are the current prominent infrastructural developments in the region

Significance

  • Kolkata and West Bengal are strategically placed. It connects India and South East Asia in terms of infrastructure. This will help to achieve India’s interests in the ASEAN countries and also its Act East Policy.
  • Location of Kolkata also enables trade and commerce to neighboring countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh
  • Kolkata has the potential to become the hub of India’s north-eastern region.

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