External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that the coming together of 'Act East' and 'Neighbourhood First' policies will have an enormous reinforcing impact for the country beyond the confines of South Asia.
Addressing the Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence (NADI) conclave Guwahati, Jaishankar said the realisation of this is evident from the potential of BIMSTEC on the Bay of Bengal region.
Land connectivity through Myanmar and sea connectivity through Bangladesh will open up all the ways to Vietnam and Philippines, he said. "Once this becomes viable on a commercial scale, it will create an East-West lateral with sweeping consequences for the continent," he added.
It will not only build on the partnership with the ASEAN countries and Japan, but will actually make a difference to Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that is now in the making, the minister said. "It is definitely within our ability to overcome geography and rewrite history if only we can get the politics and economics right," he said.
Jaishankar said that this vision can be successfully realised by enhancing connectivity with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar to improve access to ASEAN countries and beyond.