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Shilling (Meghalaya) [India], June 2 (ANI): Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh on Friday said India has recognised the importance of connectivity "as both the driver and an outcome of economic growth.""India has recognized the importance of connectivity as both the driver and an outcome of economic growth and has laid strong emphasis on improving connectivity across digital, physical, energy and human dimensions," the MoS said while addressing the India-EU Connectivity Conference.

The India-EU Connectivity Conference was organized jointly by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the EU Delegation to India, and the Asian Confluence in Meghalaya from June 1-2.

The conference aims to explore opportunities for enhancing connectivity investments in India's North Eastern States and its neighbouring countries, including Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

"Better connectivity helps in boosting trade, attracting greater investments, as well as in bringing down business transaction costs and time. It also leads to structural reforms, increased movement of skilled professionals, development of Global Value Chains (GVCs), enhancement of the role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and reduction of various disparities," the MoS Singh said.

He said that some of the connectivity initiatives brought about by the Government are the Sagarmala Programme' (port-led development to bring down logistics costs for local and foreign trade), 'Bharatmala Pariyojana' (road development), UDAN - Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)' (affordable air travel through better regional air connectivity).

"Particular focus has also been placed on the North Eastern Region of India in lieu of its centrality in connecting India to its neighbouring countries. India's foreign policy priorities, reflected in its 'Act East' and 'Neighbourhood First' policies, also bring the northeast into focus as a connectivity gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific," the MoS said.

He said India and the EU share a common approach to connectivity based on universally recognized international norms, good governance, the rule of law, openness, transparency and equality, and must be pursued in a manner that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Promotion of a comprehensive, rules-based, sustainable, inclusive, equitable and transparent approach to connectivity is at the core of the India-European Union (EU) Connectivity Partnership which was launched during India - EU Leaders' meet in May 2021," the MoS added. (ANI)

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