India, Japan review implementation of projects in Northeastern region

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (PTI) India and Japan on Thursday reviewed progress of various ongoing projects in the Northeastern region in areas of connectivity, hydropower, sustainable development and harnessing of water resources, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The review was carried out at the fifth joint meeting of the India-Japan Act East Forum.

'The India-Japan Initiative for Strengthening Bamboo Value Chain in the North East is another initiative, which we would like to decide at the earliest,' Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at the meeting.

The meeting was co-chaired by Shringla and Japanese Ambassador Suzuki Satoshi, the MEA said.

'The AEF reviewed progress of ongoing projects in the North Eastern Region of India in various areas including connectivity, hydropower, sustainable development, harnessing of water resources, and skill development,' it said in a statement.

It said the two sides discussed several new projects being undertaken under the India-Japan bilateral cooperation and also exchanged views on cooperation in new areas such as healthcare, agro-industries, bamboo value chain development, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

Japan has been actively providing assistance to various projects in the North East and the ongoing development assistance projects supported by Japan amounts to more than 231 billion yen (approximately Rs 1,600 crore), the Japanese embassy said.

The AEF provides a platform for India-Japan collaboration in the northeastern region under India's 'Act East Policy' and Japan's vision for a 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific'.

'The Foreign Secretary and the Japanese Ambassador appreciated the role played by the AEF since its establishment in 2017 in streamlining India-Japan bilateral cooperation for the modernization of the North Eastern region,' the MEA said.

The AEF was established as a forum to conceptualise, evaluate and facilitate Japan-India collaboration in connectivity and developmental projects in and with the Northeastern region of India, the Japanese embassy said.

It said Japan attaches a great importance to the cooperation for the development of India's North East, anchored by its historical ties, trust and friendship.

'The North East stands on a place strategically important to realise a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and Japan is proud to have been a partner with the people of North East in their aspirations for a better and sustainable future,' it added.

The embassy said Japan is the only country which has an independent framework for discussing the development of India's North East and the one at such a high-level. PTI MPB SMN SMN