JICF Hold First Meeting For Development Of North-East. The first meeting of the Japan-India Coordination Forum (JICF) for Development of North-Eastern Region was held recently. Secretary, Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), Naveen Verma represented the Indian side while the Japanese delegation was led by Kenji Hiramatsu, the Japanese Ambassador to India.
Priority areas of cooperation identified by Indian side included – Connectivity and Road Network Development, especially inter-State roads & major district roads; Disaster Management; Food Processing; Organic Farming and Tourism were discussed in the meeting.
JICA had signed an agreement with the Indian government in April this year to provide more than 67 billion yens ($610 million) for Phase I of the North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project, which will greatly improve the basic infrastructure and boost major projects in the states of Meghalaya and Mizoram. According to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), $48 Billion (INR3.06 trillion) is needed for the development of the north eastern road network.
Japan is taking active interest in this project and encouraging engagement opportunities. States like Assam have directly started engaging with Japan. The Japanese ambassador visited Manipur in May 2017 to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the battle of Imphal. He announced building of a war museum in Manipur as a remembrance of 70000 japanese soldiers who lost their lives during the Imphal and Kohima battles.
The development of the region with the help of Japan will not only strengthen the Indo-Japan relationship but will also have a strategic geo-political advantage for India. India would now have the enhanced connectivity with Southeast Asia through Myanmar.