What's the article about?
- It talks about forming the triad of Bangladesh, India, and Japan (BIJ) to develop the North Eastern Region (NER) of India rapidly and effectively.
- GS2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations;
- GS3: Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism;
- India’s North Eastern Region (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim) is undergoing dramatic change.
- It has overcome several (but not all) security challenges and is now heading toward economic development.
- Political changes have been helpful. So is the extensive web of linkages with neighbouring Bangladesh. Besides, Japan has emerged as a significant development partner for both India and Bangladesh.
- The third India-Japan Intellectual Dialogue, hosted by the Asian Confluence (ASCON), in Agartala, Tripura, showed that the current decade may produce path-breaking changes in the northeast, bringing the troika of Bangladesh, India and Japan closer.
- Focus areas in the NER:
- Transport and connectivity:
- We need to build this infrastructure in order to develop the NER. Some projects are of prime importance in this regard.
- One such project is the development of Matarbari Deep Sea Port (DSP) on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh.
- It is being constructed with Japanese assistance and is scheduled to be operational in 2027.
- A recent ASCON study envisages this port to be “a game changer”. To be optimally viable, the port will have to cater to the needs of Bangladesh and India’s northeast.
- Rapid Industrialisation:
- While increased connectivity of roads and railways is important, it is not enough without the creation of regional industrial value chains.
- Hence, rapid industrialisation in the sectors where the northeast enjoys competitive advantage assumes significance.
- Transport and connectivity:
- We need to diversify the sources of investment in the NER. Along with foreign investment, domestic investment also needs to increase.
- Also, Indian companies must invest in the NER.
- Allow more foreign partners:
- At present, Japan is the major development partner for India in developing NER. This is not sustainable in the long term.
- We must allow other countries, such as Bangladesh, to invest more in the NER.
- Role of BIMSTEC:
- When issues of regional cooperation and integration are discussed, scant attention seems to be paid to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which is self-defeating.
- This must change so that the group progresses towards its vision of establishing the Bay of Bengal Community (BOBC).
- The goal of connecting a large part of South Asia with Southeast Asia requires an astute pilot. This leadership can come from the triad of Bangladesh, India and Japan (BIJ).
- A BIJ Forum should be launched first at the level of Foreign Ministers, a move that will be welcome in the northeast.