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Chief Minister hopes car rally would benefit North East

Staff Reporter, DIMAPUR, NOV 17 (NPN)
Published on 18 Nov. 2012 1:02 AM IST
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Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has expressed hope that ASEAN-India car rally, scheduled to take place from November 25 to December 20, would create opportunity for India’s Northeast region particularly Nagaland.

Addressing a press conference at his residence, Sovima here, along with ASEAN diplomats, the chief minister said the state would be honoured to host the participants of the second ASEAN-India car rally in Kohima once again. The first India-ASEAN car rally was held from November 22-December 11, 2004.

The objective of the ASEAN-India car rally is to create people-to-people contact and to promote trade, investment and tourism. Rio assured ASEAN diplomats that the state would do its best to take care of participants at Kohima.
He viewed that first priority of the car rally was to build connectivity by road, adding when such connectivity was done, removing the restrictions of permits for tourism and for trade should follow.

Asserting that Nagas have cultural affinity with the Southeast Asians,

chief minister said Nagas and SE Asians also have a lot of things in common, which would benefit the people.
Wishing the car rally a success, chief minister said the state government has set up various committees for the smooth conduct of the rally. He said the state would provide all necessary requirements for the smooth conduct of the car rally.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Thailand Pisan Manawapat disclosed that currently ASEAN and India were finalizing a comprehensive agreement that would allow liberalization in trade and investment.

Stating that they were very fortunate to arrive in Nagaland, Pisan Manawapat said they have full confidence in chief minister and the state for the car rally. He underlined that Nagaland was as a gateway to ASEAN countries, adding “one could not have better hope to wish for Nagaland as a bridge to Southeast Asia.”

Earlier, deputy chief of protocol, ministry of external affairs Sumit Seth briefed about the forthcoming car rally. Also, highlighting the objectives of the car rally, CII Nagaland chapter chairman Aotoshi said it was to demonstrate proximity of India with ASEAN countries and create public awareness of ASEAN-India relations.

Other diplomats, who attended the press conference included ambassador of Lao Thongphanh Syackhaphom, High Commissioner of Malaysia Dato’ Tan Seng Sung and Ambassador of Vietnam Nguyen Thanh Tan.

The second ASEAN-India car rally, being organized by the Union Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), would be flagged off from Yogjakarta, Indonesia on November 25.

The rally would travel through various countries, starting from Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand- Cambodia-Vietnam-Lao-Myanmar and enter India and will pass through Nagaland on December 15 and finally it will go to Assam on December 17, where first flag down will take place at Guwahati. The grand finale flag down will be held in New Delhi by Prime Minister along with heads of ASEAN countries on December 20.

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