Bangkok: North East India is being developed as a gateway to Southeast Asia under Central government's Act East Policy (AEP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, and added that the plans are on cards to establish seamless connectivity between Thailand, Myanmar and North East India in the years to come.
"Our focus is to connect India's North East with Thailand. North East is being developed as a gateway to Southeast Asia. This initiative will immensely strengthen India's Act East Policy and Thailand's Act West Policy," Modi said in his address at the 'Sawasdee PM Modi' event.
Modi will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia, and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) summits in Bangkok.
Recounting his government's achievements in the past 5 years, Modi said that as many as eight crore homes in India were provided free LPG connections in just three years. "This number is bigger than Thailand's entire population."
Modi said that India announced itself open-defecation free on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary, adding that his government is willing to take up challenges which were once considered insurmountable.
"In the last 5 years, we have connected every Indian to a bank account and provided electricity. We are working to provide water to every family. By 2022, when India celebrates 75 years of independence, we are working to ensure a house for every poor person in India," Modi said.
The prime minister's reference to the Centre's move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution received a standing ovation from the crowd gathered at the event. "India has taken a massive decision to free itself from separatism and terrorism"
He said that the transformation in India is the reason that his government got a bigger mandate in the 2019 general elections.
Talking about the close ties between India and Thailand, the prime minister said that no single government can be credited with the strong relationship between the two countries.
"The relation between India and Thailand is not because of any particular government. No single government can be credited for this relation," he said.
"Every moment shared between the two countries in the past has built and strengthened this relation," added Modi, while lauding the royal family.
"Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is an expert in Sanskrit language and has a deep interest in the culture," Modi said, adding that it is fortunate that India has shown its gratitude to her through Padma Bhushan award and Sanskrit Samman.
The prime minister, who is on a three-day visit to Thailand, said that he does not feel that he is in a foreign land as "the ambience, the attire, and everything here makes me feel at home."
"We (India and Thailand) are very close to each other not only because of language but also because of the sentiments. You told me 'Sawasdee Modi'. This has a connection with the Sanskrit word 'Swasti' which means welfare".
The prime minister began his address amid the chants of "Modi...Modi."
Updated Date: Nov 02, 2019 20:46:48 IST