Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said that enhancing connectivity is crucial to deepening India's diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with the Indo-Pacific countries."The geopolitical climate of today has unleashed on us new perils as well as opportunities. It is imperative, therefore, in my mind to combat the current uncertainties by sticking together as a group and intensifying our economic, cultural and trade imprints across our nations," he said in his address at international conference aPurbasa: East meets East' organized by the Kalinga International Foundation (KIF) here.He said the Act East Policy of the union government envisages the development of North-East Region (NER) with adequate infrastructure and human resource capital in order to facilitate people-to-people contacts on social, cultural, academic and economic platforms for physical and soft connectivity.
Pradhan said the focus is now on economic development and addressing the "trust deficit" in the region.Kalinga International Foundation Chairman Lalit Mansingh said: "Kalinga International Foundation believes that the East and the Northeast should be seen as a homogeneous cultural and economic region of India, which is playing a crucial role in India's Act East Policy."Sri Lankan Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera stressed for more cooperation to strengthen socio-cultural relations among the countries.Assam's Industry and Tourism Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Ambassadors of Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, High Commissioners of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and the Economic Minister from Japan were also present during the inaugural event of the three-day long international conference.On this occasion, the Kalinga Saraswati Samman was conferred to noted scholars- V Suryanarayan for his book "Together in struggle: India and Indonesia" and Sudip Sen for his book "The pride and glory of Bali Yatra".