President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said Mizoram was a key to India's 'Act East' Policy and the state will link other northeastern states to our neighbours in Southeast Asia and the rest of India."Mizoram is a key to India's Act East Policy. The state will link our northeastern states to our neighbours in Southeast Asia as well as to other parts of India. That is why the government of India is focusing on infrastructure and connectivity projects in the region," he said after inaugurating a housing complex here for the economically weaker sections under the Basic Services for Urban Poor Schemes.India's Act East Policy focuses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region. The policy, originally conceived as an economic initiative, has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions, including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.He said: "Trade will grow in the bordering state to everybody's benefit. There is an urgent need to create more opportunities within Mizoram itself like the rest of northeast India."The President said that Mizoram has so much to offer. "Harnessed appropriately, bamboo can be a wonder crop. With value addition, it can be used to create a variety of products and many, many jobs."
Earlier on Wednesday, Kovind arrived here on his maiden two-day visit to Mizoram. He inspected a guard of honour after his arrival at Lengpui Airport.On Thursday, the President will address a special session of the Mizoram assembly.The President said the Mizoram government has undertaken two programmes that have led to appreciable outcomes -- the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) and the New Economic Development Policy.
"Under the NLUP, the state government is providing financial support to less-advantaged sections that seek to move away from age-old shifting or 'jhoom' cultivation and get into sustainable agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, animal husbandry or other livelihoods," he said. Kovind said: "Young Mizos are our sporting heroes. From hockey to mountaineering, boxing to weightlifting, Mizos excel nationally and internationally. Of course, in football, our Mizo boys and girls are special." He recalled that Mizoram got its first all-weather artificial turf football ground in 2011 and the state team won the Santosh Trophy in 2013. In 2015, it won the gold medal in football at the National Games.He said the Aizawl Football Club became the first club in northeast India to win the I-League in April. "These are great achievements. Mizoram's young people can replicate the energy of football in the economy and in entrepreneurship."