Ladies and Gentlemen,
- It is a great honour to be here today among you all, in this lustrous land, defined and shaped by bravery, honour and the rich traditions of the many tribes of Nagaland. It is also indeed a privilege to be part of the “Hornbill Festival, 2017”, in this picturesque setting of Kisama and experience the impressive rich cultural displays and traditions of Nagaland.
- I on behalf of the people of Manipur, would also like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes and warm greetings to the people of Nagaland, as you celebrate 54 years of Statehood for Nagaland.
- With each tribe celebrating its own festival with dedication and passion, Nagaland is indeed the “land of festivals” and Hornbill festival is definitely the “festival of festivals”.
- I thank the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland for inviting me to be here today and be a part of the celebration. I also thank him for taking time to visit Manipur last month for the recently concluded “North East development Summit” in Imphal and the “Manipur Sangai Festival 2017”.
- 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. Shared prosperity and collective gains can result only from shared vision and collective action.
- It is with keeping this thought in mind and in line with the suggestion of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland to create a “tourist circuit” for the north east region, I feel that next year onwards, we must sincerely attempt to evolve concrete collaborative mechanism for jointly promoting the two biggest State festivals of our states – the “Manipur Sangai festival” held in the last ten days of November and the “Nagaland Hornbill festival” in the first 10 days of December.
- 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.
- Also, for the north eastern region in general, synergetic and coordinated vision and relationships will be critical in realising the benefits of Act east of policy of India.
- About 74 years ago, some of the fiercest and deciding battles of the Second World War were fought in Imphal and Kohima. 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.
- We could also actively engage in the area of sports. On the enduring foundations laid by the inspiring legacy of Dr Ao of Nagaland, who was the first captain of Indian national football team after independence, we must build together and nurture the promising prospects of our young sports talents, like those of the eight Manipuris who represented India in the recent U-17 FIFA World Cup. 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, village, professional clubs level etc.
- Similarly, 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 theater.
- I would like to congratulate the government and the people of Nagaland for putting up such a grand impressive show. I wholeheartedly thank you for your warm welcome and kind hospitality.
- Cultural troupes from Manipur are also attending this festival. They will reach here shortly.
- With Christmas and New Year’saround the corner. I would like to conclude by extending season’s warm greetings and best wishes on behalf of the people of Manipur to the beautiful people of Nagaland. I am hopeful that this festive season will bring renewed vigour to strengthen our shared historical and traditional bonds and will cement enduring partnership, transforming the lives of the people of Manipur and Nagaland towards lasting peace, shared prosperity and collective future. “Merry Christmas”.
Thank you all.