GUWAHATI, Oct 25 - The Government of India is of the view that if communication to Myanmar and trade ties with that country are improved, then security-related issues would take care of themselves and that is why India is going for substantial investments in this regard.
Highly placed Government of India sources told The Assam Tribune that for years, India was giving importance only on security concerns, which did not yield the desired results as militants of the North East continued to use the territory of Myanmar as safe sanctuary. But the situation has changed with the change of attitude of the Government towards Myanmar.
Sources revealed that a series of measures have been taken by the Government of India for improving trade ties with Myanmar. The Government is facilitating visits by top officials of corporate houses of India to Myanmar and the Government of the neighbouring country is also extending help in this regard. It is expected that Myanmar will see substantial investment by the corporate sector of India in the days to come.
The Government of India has also started working on improving communication with Myanmar. The implementation of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is being expedited. The project started way back in 2008, but the progress of implementation remained sluggish due to lack of adequate attention by the Government of India. But now the process has been expedited and it is expected that the project would become operational within next year.
Sources said that as per the project, the Government of India is developing the Sittewe port in Myanmar. As soon as the project is completed, cargo ships from Kolkata will be brought to the port via the Bay of Bengal and then through the Kaladan river in Myanmar and then by road to the international border point in Mizoram. This will provide an alternative and cheaper route to bring goods to the North East from the rest of the country. Moreover, as the Government of Bangladesh has already agreed on principle to allow transit of goods to North East through that country, the region would have two sea routes for transportation of cargo in the days to come, sources pointed out.
In addition to the Kaladan project, the Government of India is developing the Myanmar portion of the highway connecting Thailand with India, which is vital for the success of the Act East Policy. The Government of India has also decided to provide funds to Myanmar to construct roads along the international border with India, while, in the Indian side also, such roads will be constructed.