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India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway Project

Context:

The external minister of India S. Jaishankar met his Myanmar counterpart Tha Swe to discuss the expeditions projects especially the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the challenges faced in the smooth implementation of the project.

India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway:

India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway is a significant regional connectivity project aims to establish a road link between India, Myanmar and Thailand.

The total distance of this highway is approximately 1,400 km (845 miles) which starts from Moreh in Manipur, India and passes through Myanmar and ends at Mae Sot in Thailand.

It was first proposed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and was approved at ministerial-level meeting between India, Myanmar and Thailand in 2002.

The construction work of this highway began in 2012 and is being implemented in several phases.

The India-Myanmar Friendship Road forms the first segment of this highway which starts from the border at Tamu/Moreh to Kalemyo and Kalewa.

Implementing Agencies

On the Indian side, the project is implemented by the Ministry of External Affairs with the cooperation of its counterparts in Myanmar and Thailand. And the budget was allocated for this project from the Ministry of Finance.

Recent Developments:

  • In December 2020, Bangladesh showed interest towards joining this highway project in order to boost connectivity from Dhaka.
  • India and ASEAN have planned to extend this route to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as this connectivity will generate annually an estimated US$70 billion in incremental GDP and 20 million in incremental employment by 2025. India has offered US$1 billion line-of-control credit for the India-ASEAN connectivity projects.

India’s contribution in IMT Highway Project:

India-Myanmar Friendship Road linking the border of Tamu/Moreh to Kalmeya and Kalewa is also a part of this project.

India has undertaken the construction of two sections of the highway in Myanmar:

  • The construction of the 74 km Kalewa-Yagyi road section.
  • The construction of 69 bridges along with the approach road on the 70 km Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section.

By 2023, it is expected to the complete the highway’s Imphal-Moreh portion on the Indian side.

India also plans to add a new connection to the IMT highway by upgrading the route from Zokhawthar in Mizoram to Tedim in the Chin state of Myanmar.

Significance of the IMT trilateral highway:

This trilateral highway project will significantly reduce the transportation costs which will increase cross-border economic activities and trade opportunities. This project will also develop the friendly relations among the connected countries and also promote the tourists and cultural activities. This project will open new market and trading opportunities for the countries which will improve their economic growth and helps in development.

Challenges

  • As the highway passes through the regions with complex political situations and security concerns which are the point of concern in smooth implementation of the project.
  • For the building and maintenance of this project there is a need of substantial investment in the infrastructure which can be challenging in remote and geographically challenging areas.
  • The smooth implementation or completion of the project requires the coordination and cooperation among the three countries which may be challenging.
  • Construction activities may cause the environmental damages in the concerned areas.                                                        Find More International News Here

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