Addressing an international conference on "India's North Eastern States and Eastern Neighbours: Engaging for Connectivity, Culture and Prosperity by An Intelligent Third Space" organised by Asian Confluence here, Paul said North Eastern Region could facilitate in carrying forward the 'Look East' or 'Act East' policy of the Centre.

"Stronger links to South East Asia via Myanmar would provide tremendous opportunities and greater economic integration," Paul said.He said that India-ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) relations have progressed steadily since 1992  and India is now its strategic partner.

Beyond trade, economic cooperation between India and ASEAN has been extended to sectors like, tourism, transport and infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, human resource development, science and technology, health and pharmaceuticals, small and medium enterprises, he said.
"As far as ASEAN is concerned, enhancing relations between India and Myanmar are crucial to increase involvement  of North East India, in the Look East policy. Myanmar can act as a bridge between India and ASEAN," he said, adding, improvement in relations with Myanmar, in recent years, is a positive development for the North East, both economically, as well as strategically.

The issues of connectivity have assumed the top priority for North East India, with the rest of the region, as well as intra region, Paul said. He highlighted the importance of connectivity issues for the region such as the access to the inland waterways in Bangladesh and to the seaports in Bangladesh.

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