Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday stressed on harnessing marine resources and ecologically responsible economic growth in the South East Asian region for sustainable development.
He said India is seeking a “more cooperative and integrated future for the region through development of the ocean-based blue economy”.
“A distinct feature of the blue economy lies in harnessing of marine resources for economic and social development and environmental sustainability without undermining the conservation and restocking aspects of these finite natural resources,” said the minister of ports, shipping and waterways.
Linking economic growth with ecological balance, Sonowal said, “A related aspect is the emergence of the blue economy as a promising new pillar of prosperity in the region, with immense economic and employment potential.” ‘Blue economy’ refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.
“With evolving global realities, the engines of economic growth are moving towards our region. We have an opportunity here to become partners as the Indian Ocean becomes the centre of the emerging ‘age of Asia’.
“This new awakening is a recognition of our interlinked destinies, interdependence for a cleaner environment and in our belief of shared opportunities,” the minister said.
He was speaking at a special plenary session at “Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence 3: Asian Confluence River Conclave 2022” here.
“We, who live in and around the Indian Ocean, must own and bear primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” the former Assam chief minister said.
Speaking on the Act East policy of the Centre, the Union minister said the government remains “deeply committed” to it.
“At the heart of this, there are the ASEAN countries. Deeper economic integration with the dynamic South East Asian Nations is an important aspect of our Act East policy.
As Modi ji says, the destiny of the world will be shaped by the course of development in the Indo-Pacific. pic.twitter.com/07p8vzJpZQ
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) May 28, 2022
“To this effect, we are getting closely intertwined in a web of co-prosperity through an intricate network of rail, road, air and maritime links. We are also working to revive waterways in India and use them aggressively for cargo and passenger traffic as it saves cost and is environmentally sound mode of transport,” Sonowal said.
He also stated that the progress has been made in the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route to transport heavy cargo and this has also benefited neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan to access the Indian Ocean.
“Maritime transportation helps strengthen the economic integration. We all have to take time bound initiatives to reduce the structural gap in terms of maritime and shipping infrastructure,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)