Act East: Why the Kaladan Transit Project matters
The transformation of the Look East policy of India into an Act East policy is finally taking shape. On October 14, the Union government decided to raise the investment in the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project from Rs. 535 crore to nearly Rs. 3,000 crore.
This is expected to breathe new life into the project which was conceived in 2008 but had been stagnating since then.
The Kaladan project is aimed at providing an alternative route for cargo to India's north-eastern states through Myanmar. The project will link Kolkata Port to Myanmar's Sittwe port and then provide a riverine route through the Kaladan river and by road to the Myanmar-India border adjoining Mizoram.
The current cargo transport route to the north-eastern states through the Siliguri corridor or Chicken's Neck area is already overstretched and is not suitable for the transport of heavy machinery.
The Kaladan project will not only provide better connectivity but is also expected to lead to the rapid economic development of the north-eastern states of India.
Along with the highway link from More in Manipur and Mandalay in Myanmar, and the India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway project, India will get linked to the East West Economic Corridor which goes up to Vietnam. Experts believe that this can help India become a part of the emerging New Mekong Economic Zone and provide India with the same connectivity in South East Asia that China has enjoyed up to now.
(Video edited by Adiba Muzaffar)