Arunachal Pradesh, the eastern most state of the country, being the best window to South East Asian nations, should be more accessible by reopening the historic Stillwell Road soon.
Chief Minister Nabam Tuki accompanied by Union MoS (Minority Affairs) Ninong Ering, Rajya Sabha member Mukut Mithi and Finance Minister Chowna Mein visited Jairampur Tuesday to attend the Pangasu Pass Winter Festival-2013 at Nampong, the town in Changlang district bordering Myanmar.
Tuki told ANI that the road connectivity would help translate Look East Policy to reality as has been stressed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
"We should improve our bilateral relations with all our neighbouring countries, including China, to improve our trade and commerce while tourism would grow multi-fold with the reopening of the road," he reasoned.
He expressed his happiness that Myanmarese traders and cultural delegation took part in the festival with great enthusiasm, which, he said, would be an extension of the International Tourism Mart held for the first time in India at Guwahati during January 18-20 last.
"My government has attached top priority to the growth and promotion of vast potential tourism sector which would not only generate huge employment avenues but also enrich the state coffer as envisioned by the government of India," the chief minister added.
Mithi, who frequents SEA nations, also advocated it on the basis of recommendation of a parliamentary delegation to Myanmar given to the PM.
A Mithi-led Indian delegation, including MPs P D Rai and Thomas Sangma, all from North East India, attended the Myanmar Global Investment Forum jointly organized by Myanmar Investment Commission and Hong Kong-based Euromoney Institutional Investor (JERSEY) Ltd in September, 2012.
He said the trio had called on Myanmar External Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and Border Affairs Minister Lt Gen Thein Htay at Naypyidaw, new capital city of Myanmar where they discussed development tasks along the border between the two countries and coordination in transport, education and health sectors. Reopening of the Ledo road was a priority agenda, Mithi disclosed.
"Myanmar is keen on reopening the road not through Kachin due to some internal problems but by linking it to Mandalay. The road would be linked to the tri-junction, facilitating link to Changlang in Arunachal and Moreh in Manipur. The link to Mandel would be a road to the rich SEA nations," Mithi added.
Mandalay, the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma, founded in 1857 and located 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy river, is the capital of Mandalay region. It is the economic hub of Upper Myanmar and considered the centre of Myanmarese culture.
A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan province, in the past 20 years, has reshaped the city's ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China. Despite Naypyidaw's recent rise, Mandalay remains Upper Myanmar's main commercial, educational and health centre. (ANI)