With 5300 kms of international boundary, the North East frontier of India lies ensconced in centre of a very dynamic and economically resurgent region of South East Asia comprising of countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar. The economic potential of a region flagged by some vibrant economies is enormous and one would usually expect that a region like the North east would be engaged in a healthy economic relationship with these neighbouring countries. However, the reality is a far cry from the expected. The 8 states of the North Eastern Frontier of India have hitherto been unable to capitalize on the geo strategic advantage of sharing international borders with several countries. With the potential to be the hub of economic activity for entire South East Asia, the region has so far been lagging because of inadequate connectivity infrastructure in the North East in terms of surface and air transport, regulatory and bureaucratic bottlenecks, poor diplomatic and people to people connect with neighbouring countries, lack of entrepreneurial spirit in local population, deficient investors’ interest in the region etc. The region is a glaring example of oversight and it is ailing with poor connectivity infrastructure even within the region itself. The connectivity linkages with the rest of India are also in a precarious state of affairs as the region is connected by a narrow land corridor of 22kms in width which is already congested with the few rail and road lines. Transmission and telecommunication linkages through the corridor has dwindled the opportunity for expanding linkages through this Chicken’s Neck Corridor.
However, in recent times the region has been to be looked upon with renewed interest and the Government of India has given a clarion call for the development of the region through its Act East Policy in a way to capitalise on the unutilised potential for international trade and commerce and at the same time to revitalise the region’s economy.
The recently announced plans of awarding road projects of 1 Lakh Crore in the North East in the next five years and the declaration of 18 National Waterways in the region are some of the recent developments which puts the North East in focus of the central government. Alongwith the initiatives like Make in India, Skill India the increased attention in improving international economic ties with countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal etc with the North East at the helm of affairs is also on a positive note of things
The Kaladan Multimodal project, the trilateral Highway, Trans Asian Railway and the Asian Highway Network are some of the game changing projects at various stages of progress which would in the future reorganise the strategic and business dynamics of the region. At the same time, we are witnessing epic changes in political and economic framework of neighbouring countries. The rise of a democratic Myanmar, the improving bilateral ties with Bangladesh, the growth of South Asian Economic engine has captured attention of not only India but also the developed world. India stands to gain from the changes in its eastern neighbourhood if it focuses on the efforts to capitalise on the crucial advantage it has through the frontier of North East India. The timely completion of ongoing infrastructure projects, creation of new green field infrastructure to aid connectivity and trade, policy reforms, cooperation with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar etc would be key to the future of the region as a hub of International trade and commerce.
North East Connectivity Summit
North East Connectivity Summit is a cross sectoral initiative of FICCI with the objective of highlighting the connectivity gaps and proposing a comprehensive connectivity agenda apart from encouraging private sector investment in connectivity infrastructure. The summit has help bring into focus the opportunities in developing connectivity of North East and its associated strategic and economic advantages for the entire India. The summit has metamorphosed into a unique platform for strategic dialogue between various stakeholders including government of India, BBIN and South Asian countries, Private sector and others. The summit has helped gain intellectual input from various expert agencies on the theme of connectivity aided development with North East at the centre stage.
In order to catalyze economic connectivity and facilitate infrastructure intervention from both the public and private sector, FICCI had organized the North East Connectivity Summit in November in 2014 followed by the 2nd North East Connectivity Summit last year. These summits were successful in garnering interest and engagement of senior representatives from the Government of India, the State Governments of the region, a cross section of industry, international delegations, and Multilateral agencies like the World Bank and UNESCAP. Apart from highlighting the opportunities and challenges, the summit was successful in generating a lot of fresh ideas. The private sector from India and abroad have also shown a lot of interest in investing in infrastructure in the North East
Key Highlights of Past Summit
- Engagement with delegations from countries like Japan, China, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Singapore
- Participation of Chief Ministers and key Ministers from North East States
- Participation of Key Union Ministers and top officials of Government of India
- More than 1000 participants from a cross section of the industry in the summits
- Unveiling of two crucial FICCI reports with PWC and KPMG on North East Connectivity
- Action Agenda readied which summarise key actionables from the Summits and circulated among the key stakeholders
SUMMIT 2017 “Connect North East”
To further consolidate the gains from the past summits, to support the Government initiatives for inclusive development, to generate ideas for a comprehensive connectivity road map and to facilitate private sector participation in the growth agenda for the region the fourth North East Connectivity Summit is proposed to be organized in Kohima from 21st September to 23rd September, 2017.
The 4th Edition of North East Connectivity Summit promises to pose and seek answers to some critical questions on regional and cross border connectivity that may manifest itself in the upcoming days. The biggest opportunity and toughest challenge will be to seamlessly integrate ‘people to people connectivity’ and leveraging common heritages.
With a set of intriguing questions in the agenda, the 2017 edition of the Connectivity Summit is being organized in the capital of Nagaland. The state known for successfully establishing the Hornbill festival as the biggest cultural show in NER, Nagaland is a land of tremendous diversity and potential. It has 16 different tribes and all with its own festivals. It’s a treat for the revelers to witness the zeal and enthusiasm of each of these festivals.
The theme for this year is ‘Act East from Nagaland’. This is particularly apt because of its shared boundary with Myanmar which has now emerged as a democratic country and which is a strategic partner for not only the North East but the whole of India and greater ASEAN as a whole. It is envisaged that Nagaland, due to its unique location, may soon become the connecting link between Northeast India and Myanmar.
While the focus of the Summit will remain on building Physical & Digital connectivity, market linkages, etc in the region; Connect North East 2017 will have additional flavour of biodiversity and bridging cultural diversity between the region and our neighbouring countries. The deliberations will be moderated to strategize connectivity and infrastructure development for creation of wealth in the area of Social, Economic and Ecological Enterprises
Key Stakeholders from the North Eastern States along with Corporates from India, neighbouring countries and the ASEAN Region are expected to participate in the Summit. With many new initiatives from Government of India as well as neighbouring countries the summit is expected to deliberate and come up with implementable answers to important questions like:
- Investment in infrastructure requirements for international trade as the ongoing trans-border projects is completed?
- How to bring in more investment for intra-regional connectivity?
- How best can preserve and use our natural resources of the region to bolster sustainable growth?
- How to strengthen people to people connectivity between NE Region and Southeast Asian countries?
- To build consensus on the connectivity needs of the region.
- To evolve a comprehensive connectivity development roadmap for the region.
- Brainstorm financing options for infrastructure development in the North East.
Focus Areas 2017
- Border infrastructure
- Trade facilitation and policy framework
- Intra-regional connectivity
- Market value chain
- Digital connectivity
- Inland waterway
- Air connectivity
- Overland connectivity
- Power and energy
- Shared resources with special emphasis on bamboo bridge
- Managing and leveraging the bio-diversity
KEY SESSIONS OF SUMMIT 2017
- Inaugural Session
- Breakaway sessions-Act east from Nagaland\
- Sub regional economic integration
- Sub regional & intra-regional connectivity
- OBOR and Act east
- Market value chain & sustainable development
- Round tables- Physical connectivity for northeast; scopes & strategies
- Overland connectivity
- Digital connectivity
- Inland waterways
- Air connectivity
- Breakaway sessions- People to People connectivity- Tourism & beyond
- Power & Energy for NER & beyond
- Shared resource- the bamboo bridge
- Managing & leveraging the bio diversity
- Concluding session
About the Programme
The 3-Day summit will start with a briefing and networking dinner on 21st September 2017 (Thursday).
The second day will have the inaugural session in the morning. FollowinDocumentVisualg the inaugural session there will be 3 breakaway sessions, one on ‘Impact of International Connectivity Initiatives’ another on ‘BIMSTEC and Sub-regional Economic Integration & Sustainable Development’ and a special strategy session for the Policy Makers named ‘Policy Makers Forum’. Day 2 will break at 5.30 pm. Participants can join in the morning session after proper registration at the venue.
Day-2 will have sessions on Physical Connectivity which would include the roads, railways and inland waterways. Along with it there will be a round table on ‘Leveraging Digital Connectivity’.
The second half of the day will have interesting and intriguing sessions on People to People Connectivity and Harnessing Shared Natural Resources. Here the discussions will involve power & energy, tourism, shared resources and Bio-diversity of the region as well as the entire South-East Asian belt.
Following this there will be the closing session. During the closing session, effort will be made to make available all the recommendations made during the entire summit in form of a document. The closing session will also have the additional component of passing on the program responsibility to Arunachal Pradesh to co-host the North-east connectivity summit 2018.