Stronger Arunachal-Sikkim bond needed: CM Khandu

Itanagar: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Sunday stressed on the need to strengthen the bond between Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to address common developmental issues and ensure mutual prosperity in both the states.

“The culture of our state has evolved with continued interaction and exchange with the entire North East Region. In this context, considering the long historical relationship between Sikkim and Arunachal it is fitting we strengthen this bond by increasing the exchange of ideas and the rich culture and traditions that both our states share,” Khandu said.

The chief minister was addressing a cultural exchange programme between Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim at Dirang in West Kameng district.

Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang, legislative assembly speaker L B Das, cabinet ministers, MLAs, officials and cultural teams from both the states were present on the occasion.

Stating that Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed a sea change in the last few decades in terms of material and human resource development, Khandu also emphasized on the need to reinforce the bond between northeastern states on matters like preservation of ecosystem, cultural trade, tourism and harnessing of human capital.

“To bring about  ‘mountain perspective’ in the national and sub-national planning and policy making, we hope to collaborate with the Government of Sikkim to address our common developmental issues and ensure mutual prosperity in our states,” he offered.

Khandu pointed out that the North East has witnessed rapid acceleration in overall growth since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the helm of affairs. He said earlier the North East consisted of seven sisters but with the inclusion of Sikkim as the 8th state, the North East has become complete.

“North East today consists of seven sisters and one brother- Sikkim. We as a family are now complete,” he said.

Khandu cited several sectors that Arunachal Pradesh can learn from Sikkim including tourism, organic farming, education and health and expressed optimism that the government of Sikkim will collaborate with Arunachal Pradesh and move forward on a path of sustainable and mutual development.

As Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are treasure houses of folklore, folk songs, traditional medicine, spiritual healing systems, innate knowledge of mountains, rivers, topography and medicinal plants, Khandu advocated such regular cultural exchange programmes.

He went on to include Ladakh in such programmes citing cultural similarities between the people of Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. He further said that both Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh hold promises in Agriculture, Horticulture, Hydropower and Sports sectors.

“We are accelerating our efforts to reach the full potential in these sectors. We believe that with common efforts, shared knowledge and active cooperation between the two states, we can bring prosperity and happiness to our two states,” he said.

Khandu announced that the next such programme will be organized in Shi-Yomi district and requested the Sikkim government to reciprocate by organizing cultural exchange events in its state as well in the near future.

Khandu on the occasion also dedicated the newly constructed Gyalchen Karma Thrinley Tenne Monastery in the picturesque Sangti Valley to the people.

Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju was also present on the occasion.

The cultural exchange programme was marked by performance by various cultural troupes from across Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and neighboring country Bhutan.

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