India-EU to hold brainstorming session to promote connectivity in Bay of Bengal & Sub-Himalayan region

India and the European Union will hold a brainstorming session in Shillong on Thursday and Friday to promote connectivity in the Bay of Bengal region, an initiative that would benefit the landlocked states in the northeast as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Bangladesh will participate in the meeting as part of the ‘EU Global Gateway Conference’.

The initiative is aimed at boosting smart, green and secure connectivity investments, including with Team Europe partners’ support, in digital, energy, transport, health and education sectors, in India’s north-eastern states and the immediate sub-Himalayan neighbourhood, according to people familiar with the matter.

The meeting will focus on the five investment pillars of the EU Global Gateway: digital, climate and energy, transport, health, and education and research, they said.

“The needs for connectivity enhancement in the region are well-known. Infrastructure connectivity investments may be faced with a series of challenges, but potential and opportunities are no less real,” said one of the persons, who did not wish to be identified.

The minister of state for external affairs, chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, senior diplomats from India, EU and Bangladesh, and representatives from the industry and civil society will be part of the initiative. A leading think tank from the Northeast, Asian Confluence, will also attend the meeting.The EU and India undertake regular policy dialogues in key policy areas, contributing to the implementation of the connectivity partnership. These dialogues address crucial issues such as smart and sustainable urbanisation, water, clean energy and climate, circular economy and resource efficiency as well as more transversal science and technology issues.The EU Global Gateway Conference has given new impetus to strengthen partnerships and leverage investments from a wide array of public and private sector players at a larger scale for a green, digital and resilient future.

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