Kisama, Dec. 5 (EMN): The chief ministers of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh – N Biren Singh and Pema Khandu – graced the day-five of Hornbill festival at Naga heritage village, Kisama on Dec. 5.
Both the chief ministers of neighbouring states, who were at Kisama as chief guest and guest of honour respectively, stated that they were privileged and honoured to be part of the Hornbill festival. and experience the impressive and rich culture and traditions of the Nagas.
In his address as the chief guest, Manipur CM Singh adopted the idea of Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang for creating a “tourist circuit” for the north east region, particularly for Nagaland and Manipur.
“There is so much that connects our two states and its people. Based on our shared history and close cultural affinities, we must build the foundations upon which the people and institutions of our states can collaborate and cooperate with a strong sense of common purpose,” Singh said adding that “shared prosperity and collective gains can result only from shared vision and collective action.”
He went on to say that from next year onwards, the two states must sincerely attempt to evolve concrete collaborative mechanism for jointly promoting the biggest festivals of the two states.
He said this stating that Sangai festival of Manipur is held during the last ten days of November, while the Hornbill festival of Nagaland is annually celebrated from December 1-10.
“There are many untapped opportunities which Manipur and Nagaland as neighbours should jointly leverage to unlock the full potential of our two states and fulfil the aspirations of our people, especially that of the youth,” Singh remarked.
Singh recalled that, about 74 years ago, some of the fiercest and deciding battles of the Second World War were fought in Imphal and Kohima. To this, he said “Collaborative efforts of our governments with entrepreneurs, historians and enthusiasts to develop a tourist circuit in this niche area should be supported not only for promoting tourism but for preserving the history and relics of these forgotten battles of World War II.”
Meanwhile, Singh also went on to say that the two states could actively engage in the area of sports with the attempt to build together and nurture the prospects of the young promising sports talents.
“Sports unify us and I strongly feel we must explore opportunities for increased interactions between the two states in the area of sports at various levels starting from schools, colleges, villages and professional clubs,” Singh said, further mentioning that there is a need for extensive and meaningful “people-to-people” interactions and between institutions for collaboration and partnership in the area of entrepreneurship, skill development, commerce, arts, culture films and theatre.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, who was the guest of honour, said he had the desire of visiting Nagaland to witness the Hornbill festival long ago; he, therefore, thanked Zeliang for the invitation extended to him.
“Hornbill festival has not only exposed Nagaland, but it has also exposed the entire north east region to the mainland India and rest of the world,” Khandu said.
Regretting that NE has been ignored for so long in the past, Khandu observed that things are changing fast at the moment in the region under the abled leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The NE region has huge potentials and talents to be converted into opportunities. A very good number of investors want to come and invest in NE, therefore, let us do our bit to create and pave the way for outsiders to come and invest in the region,” he said maintaining that the region should continue to preserve the rich culture and traditions.
CM Khandu also briefly shared his thoughts and concern on the political diversities, while he emphasized the urgent need for a clean election process in the NE region.
“In Arunachal, we spend lots of money for elections. And I was told that the same thing is happening here in Nagaland. But this is not a very good idea and we should make efforts to change this trend,” Khandu said and urged the community based organisations and churches to take the initiative in bringing about a desirable change in the election process.
Zeliang talks unity
Speaking in the presence of the chief ministers of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang underscored the need for the NE states to co-exist as friendly neighbours.
“I firmly believe that under the leadership of the two chief ministers including Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, together we can co-exist as friendly neighbours,” Zeliang said adding that “peace alone can take us to progress and development of our region.”
He also adopted the idea of making the region a “tourist circuit”, by ‘dove-tailing’ the various festivals in the different north-eastern states.
“This arrangement can afford tourists from different parts of the world to undertake the North East odyssey at a one go and at a much lesser cost,” he stated.
Zeliang also proposed the need for the NE states to have a common development strategy in sync with the fast changing times.
“The similarities in our culture, traditions, ways of living or looks, etc, are more than the similarities. This applies equally when it comes to our problems too. Landlocked and distant as we are from the mainland hubs, we must have a common development strategy,” Zeliang stated.
“Looking at Act East Policy of the Govt. of India which is fast beginning to take shape, we can now look forward to a much faster pace of progress in various fronts. Our geographical isolation may also soon become a thing of the past as our region would rapidly emerge as the gateway between the ASEAN countries and mainland India. He also thanked the two chief ministers for being part of the Hornbill festival.
Manipur CM Biren Singh backs Zeliang’s push for ‘NE tourist circuit’