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Conclave brainstorms on trade, climate and fostering peace

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SHILLONG, Aug 18: In keeping with its theme ‘The North Eastern Region of India and the neighbourhood as a strategic connector for the Indo Pacific region’, a conclave was organised by thinktank Asian Confluence in collaboration with the US Consulate General Kolkata at the Asian Confluence headquarter here on Thursday.
The conclave witnessed a host of speakers deliberating over three key aspects — trade and connectivity, climate and ecology, and migration and peace building.
In her opening remarks, Riva Ganguly Das, former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, and Member Governing Council, Asian Confluence, who also served as a High Commissioner of Bangladesh and Director General ICCR, said, “Northeastern region (NER) is a vital link between two very important pillars of Indian Foreign Policy: Neighborhood First and Act East. NER connects us to our neighbours and to one of the most economically dynamic and politically significant geographies in the world – the ASEAN and the Indo Pacific”.
Meanwhile in his keynote address, former Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary, Md. Shahidul Haque, made a detailed presentation on the Indo-Pacific and talked about the Bangladesh point of view.
Margaret MacLeod, First Secretary, Public Diplomacy Section, US Embassy New Delhi, said, “We seek to deepen our role in the Indo-Pacific, building shared capacity with our partners to address our shared challenges. I look forward to learning what opportunities the people of Northeast India see for cooperation to respond to regional and global challenges”.
Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General Kolkata, Adrian J. Pratt, said, “In keeping with the larger regional goals of integration and development, it is very important to create local stakes to sustain that over a long period of time- in building market connectivity, human and natural capital, diversity, and cultural richness. In the post-pandemic world, leveraging these factors could play an important role in the growing QUAD partnership in the Indo-Pacific narrative.”
Executive Director, Asian Confluence, Sabyasachi Dutta, underlined how important it is to connect the dots between the strategic importance of the Northeast and the evolving Indo-Pacific in global geopolitics.
“It’s a pleasure to collaborate with the US Consulate to put together this timely dialogue as a part of larger initiative to connect Indo Pacific at people level,” Dutta said.
Secretary, Northern Eastern Council, K Moses Chalai, also delivered opening remarks at the inaugural.
A detailed presentation on connectivity and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in the region was made by noted expert Dr Prabir De, professor and coordinator, ASEAN-India Centre, RIS, New Delhi.
Senior policymakers and eminent scholars from the region like Samudragupta Kashyap, State Information Commissioner, Government of Assam, Ch. Ibohal Meitei, Professor, Manipur Institute of Management Studies, Manipur University, Monish Singh, Regional Director, ICCR, Nandini Bhattacharya Panda, distinguished fellow, Asian Confluence, Batskhem Myrboh, Asst. Prof. Department of Political Science, Synod College, Saswati Choudhury, Director In charge, Amiyo Kumar Das Institute, and Shah Md. Tanvir Monsur, Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Guwahati, shared their valuable insights.
The interactive dialogue which was well attended by students and faculty from nearby colleges ended with a cultural programme hosted by ICCR and Asian Confluence, highlighting the role of culture as a medium of dialogue.

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