‘Look East’ to ‘Act East’, Modi government means business: Sushma

Bangkok, (IANS) The Narendra Modi government has elevated India’s “Look East” policy of the last two decades to “Act East”, and resolved to move with a greater sense of priority and speed to implement the same, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday.

Interacting with Indian business leaders here, the minister said Thailand was a valued partner for India as relations between the two nations were “deep-rooted”.

“We envisage a more vigorous and proactive engagement with this economically vibrant region of our extended neighbourhood. Thailand is an important pillar of our policy and a valued partner,” she said.

Observing that she was “delighted” to be in Thailand and meeting leading Indian business leaders, she said: “Our bilateral relations with Thailand are based on deep-rooted cultural, religious and neighbourly association between the people of our two nations.

“Our common heritage of Buddhism and the philosophy of compassion, tolerance, non-violence and peace have laid strong foundations for this relationship.”

Elaborating on how the Modi government has been developing and strengthening friendly relations with neighbours as well as other countries, Sushma Swaraj said it was engaged closely with the neighbourhood and has strengthened relations with major countries.

“Our government is working on the simple 3C mantra — commerce, culture and connectivity.

“In all these three areas, I cannot over-emphasise the importance of Thailand. We have embarked upon ambitious projects for land connectivity with Thailand through Myanmar.

“We are also working on enhancing our sea connectivity with Thailand which is a maritime neighbour of India,” she said.

The enhanced connectivity with Thailand will help Indian traders and businesses in linking up with the markets of Southeast Asia, she said.

“In particular, this would help India’s northeastern states in their development.

“The enhanced connectivity will also help in further strengthening people-to-people contacts between our two countries. It would nurture the common cultural and religious heritage between India and Thailand whose cornerstone is Buddhism,” the minister added.

Reminding the Indian business leaders as to how, according to the latest World Bank forecast, the Indian economy was poised to grow 7.5 percent this year, she said it would make it the world’s fastest growing economy during 2015.

“The fundamentals of the economy are very stable and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), credit rating agencies and other experts speak in one voice of optimism about India’s growth prospects,” she said.

“Our government came with the slogan of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’. We have strived to offer a stable, predictable and transparent policy regime, making the country an attractive destination for investors.

“The last one year of the new government has contributed to economic good governance and all-round development,” the minister said.

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