00:57 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary Ram Madhav gestures as he speaks during a press conference at a hotel ahead of India's general election, in Srinagar on March 27, 2019

    India’s Ruling BJP Seeks Investment in Arunachal Pradesh Despite China's Opposition

    © AFP 2019 / HABIB NAQASH
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Historically, India’s north eastern region was one of the country's richest but after independence, growth in the area – also known as the ‘Land of the Eight Sisters’, has lagged far behind the rest of the country.

    Ram Madhav,  General Secretary of the national ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the party's point person for the north east region said that Arunachal Pradesh should get investment from the Indian expatriate business community, including those in China.  He however, sidestepped a question on Chinese companies investing in the north-eastern region, saying, it was for the federal government to take a decision on the matter.

    “There a large number of Indian businessmen in China. I had a meeting with them when I went there last time. We suggested to them, that as Indians they should also focus on the Northeast,” Madhav said in an exclusive interview to Sputnik.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has previously said he wanted to return the region to a “position of national economic eminence” and play the “arrow-head role” in the country’s “Look East Policy.”

    The Chinese government does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh and refers to it as South Tibet.

    Madhav also suggested increasing trade between north eastern India and the South East Asian nations.

    “We are keen that our trade through land, sea routes should increase with all South East neighbours. We have a free trade agreement with ASEAN nations and several others. We have not fully exploited the potential that is lying in this arrangement. It is a win-win situation for the north eastern states,” he said.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his first term in office has changed India’s so-called “Look East Policy” to “Act East Policy” and forged strong bilateral relations with countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam as also joined several multilateral forums like Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit (EAS),  Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP). India has also forged Free Trade Agreements with some of these alliances, while negotiating a similar pact with RECP.

    But an ideological ally of the BJP – Swadeshi Jagaran Manch has come out against New Delhi’s decision to sign a Free Trade Agreement  with RECP, saying that certain provisions of the agreement are detrimental to the interests of Indian economy.

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    Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), China, Narendra Modi, New Delhi, India
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