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Piyush Goyal cites Manipur’s importance as gateway to Southeast Asia, assures full support

Union Minister Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry has assured industry bodies of Manipur that the Centre would actively support the state’s growth story. The minister said that the Centre is aware of the challenges that plague businesses in Manipur and that steps would be taken to address them. In an interaction with representatives of different industry and trade organisations in the state on Saturday, Goyal said that measures are being taken so that Manipur, which serves as the gateway to Myanmar and other ASEAN countries, gets full advantage of free trade agreements.

According to an official statement, Goyal assured that measures are being taken to ensure that the northeastern states do not have to rush either to Delhi or Kolkata for every issue. He also said that the attempt to make everything online is a venture would also promote transparency.

Also read: India-Myanmar border fencing a priority for govt, says Manipur CM

During the interaction, business representatives from the state underlined the need to develop logistics parks, put in place transport subsidies to export and import traders, upgrade Imphal Airport with facilities of cold storage. Issues pertaining introduction of transit duty system, reduction in visa fees, opening of trade related offices including Reserve Bank of India’s foreign exchange cells were also brought up during the meeting.

Several Japanese and South Korean companies are already present in India’s northeastern states.

“The northeast is fast turning out to be a favourite investment destination for both domestic and international companies,” Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO, Invest India, the nodal body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, facilitating fresh investment in the country earlier told India Narrative.

The Australian Institute of International Affairs in a study noted that although the states of Northeast India are small—physically, numerically and economically—they are increasingly gaining a significant strategic value. “With ASEAN engagement becoming a central pillar of India’s foreign policy direction, these states play an important role as the physical bridge between India and Southeast Asia,” it said.