External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Monday pitched for connectivity from “The Arabian Sea to the South China Sea” even as India and Japan work together in tandem. Speaking at an event in Guwahati, Assam the EAM said, the “approach to create connectivity to and within Assam, beyond to the North-East, then to neighbouring Myanmar and Bangladesh, but eventually push all the way by road, by sea, by air to Vietnam, to Japan.”
India is working on a number of connectivity projects to connect northeast with East Asia–India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, with an aim to expand it to Vietnam via Laos. The Kaladan Multimodal transport link will provide North East access via Sittwe Project and the Paletwa Inland Water Terminal. Work is on BIMSTEC masterplan on transport connectivity via 264 projects.
Jaishankar lauded India Japan partnership, calling it “natural and close” and said, “India-Japan collaboration has always had a central place in our national modernization and development efforts.” Japan has been involved in the funding of the Guwahati water supply project, road connectivity in the northeast, construction of a primary school in Manipur etc.
Recently New Delhi and Tokyo reached a pact for people from India to jo to Japan under “specified skilled workers” visa and will increase in people to people engagement.
Interestingly Jaishankar pointed out to Assam becoming a “major player” in producing refined petroleum products and “a pipeline to supply Bangladesh high-speed diesel is an important beginning”. India and Nepal recently opened a cross country oil pipeline, the first such pipeline in South Asia.