President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said Assam is perfectly positioned to become India’s link to the ASEAN nations as the ‘Act East’ policy takes forefront, when he inaugurated the five-day Namami Brahmaputra river festival in the state.
He said the country’s traditions, including the teachings of Assam’s great scholar and social reformer Shankaradev, never allowed the practice of intolerance.
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay also participated at the inauguration ceremony besides Assam governor Banwarilal Purohit, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior Assam ministers.
The river festival is being organised across 21 districts of Assam through which the Brahmaputra river passes.
He said India would soon celebrate 25 years of its link with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the region is an important destination for India’s investment and trade.
Stating that Assam has “immense development potential”, Mukherjee added the inland water transport system in the National Waterways can change its economic scenario.
“The development of this national waterway can give Assam access to international ports like Chittagong in Bangladesh. This will give Assam an exposure to international trade and commerce. With the Act East Policy taking forefront, Assam is perfectly positioned to become the corridor of the country to the ASEAN nations,” he said.
Mukherjee hailed Assam’s richness in natural resources and its hardworking people to underline that all it needed was “strong drive, right policies and effective implementation.”
“It is time for this state to establish its enduring mark in the international economic domain as the link between the northeastern part of the country and the ASEAN nations,” he remarked.
The President said the Brahmaputra river, which is the lifeline of Assam and the region, is intertwined into the economy, culture and day-to-day life of the people of the areas through which it flows.
He also complimented the state government for having started ‘Namami Brahmaputra’ as an annual festival to showcase Assam’s culture as well as potential.
The festival which will continue till April 4.