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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said the partition of India in many ways broke the natural connectivity of the northeastern states but in the last one decade the efforts by the Central government has improved the resources in the area.

S Jaishankar was addressing an event in Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College on the topic ‘Northeast India’s Integration with South East Asia and Japan: Balancing Economic Ties and Ecological Conservation’. S Jaishankar said India’s ties with the neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Taiwan, among others in the East Asia has improved in the last decade connecting it with the rest of the world.

He said the impact of the partition had initially impacted the growth in the northeast due to political barriers as well as administrative issues.

“The consequence of the partition of India broke in many ways the natural connectivity that the northeast had or would have enjoyed. As a result of that, the levels of growth that the northeast should have seen was slowed down. In the first few decades after the partition, the northeast did not enjoy the advantages which other parts of the country did because of political barriers and administrative issues,” S Jaishankar said.

The Union minister added the current economic stability in the northeast is moving towards a stronger front.

He said if we look at the last decade, Northeast India has been a big beneficiary of the dramatic improvement in India-Bangladesh ties.

“When we did the Land Boundary agreement in 2015, once things settled down there was a new level of trust and confidence between India and Bangladesh. We saw a lot of other problems being resolved particularly problems dealing with terrorism and instability. “What we are seeing now, honestly should have come much earlier if history had been kinder to us. As I always say, for India to look east, Delhi should first look east and see the Northeast. It is then the potential and the possibilities of the Northeast will be fully appreciated,” he said.

In the case of Myanmar, S Jaishankar said India is trying to make growth avenues while dealing with the “challenges” there.

“Myanmar has been a great challenge, till there was a restoration of democracy we had one set of problems. In the last few years after the military has taken over there are other more serious problems. While we are mitigating its consequences on our own border, there is a larger stake that we have about connectivity through Myanmar,” S Jaishankar said.

“If all of this works and the Northeast gets connectivity to Eastwards through Myanmar, southwards into Bangladesh, the entire eastern India including the seaboard of India will be developed more intensively which is the objective of the Modi government,” he added.

Talking about Japan and India’s relationship, S Jaishankar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 asked to set up a special forum with Japan. He said it is the only forum of India dedicated to developing the northeast India and their links with other connecting countries.

As a result of these ties, he said, several bilateral developments have taken place including expansion of the Japanese language in many of the Indian institutions.

S Jaishankar also talked about India’s G20 submit positioning the country as a global leader and asserted how the country overcame world crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring that its citizens are protected.

“We are a country which has a lot of potential unrealised, partly why we organised the G20 for a whole year. Modi’s instruction was we don’t want any state left out from getting the diplomatic attention. It should not be focused on just Delhi or three or four other metropolitan cities.”