Once the Asian Highway project in Myanmar is complete, a person can reach from Imphal to Bangkok by road in 16-18 hours, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said on Friday, stating that the Northeastern state is the gateway of India for South East Asian countries.
Addressing the CII-organised B-20 conference here, Singh said plans are afoot to start international flights from Imphal to Mandalay in Myanmar and Bangkok in Thailand. "Manipur has the perfect setting for the implementation of the country's Act East Policy," he said. "Once the stretch of Asian Highway in Myanmar is completed, road travel from Imphal to Bangkok will be possible within 16-18 hours," he said.
Delegates from 23 nations are participating in the three-day conference, which has been organised as part of India's G20 presidency. The participants are deliberating on opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in information and communications technology (ICT), medical tourism, healthcare and handlooms.
The chief minister said the biggest strength of the state is its English-speaking youths who have done well in the services sector, including hospitality and healthcare. "Manipur has a strong base of qualified healthcare professionals and nurses are in high demand across the country," he said.
Singh said the platform provided by the conference would go a long way to help explore investment and partnership opportunities and shape policies. Union Minister of State for External Affairs RK Ranjan said the people of Manipur have organically developed, made a mark, and created a brand value for themselves in the hospitality and care-giving sector.
He said the population of the Northeast is experienced in communicating fluently in English without any hassle. "So, this can be leveraged by the business community in employing these skilled individuals across sectors." In addition to the G20 nations, Bangladesh, Nepal and some African countries were also invited to the conference, which will conclude on Sunday.