A 3,200-km trilateral highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand will become a reality by 2016. India has given a $500 million loan to Myanmar, some of which will be used to fund the highway, said Anil Wadhwa, India’s ambassador to Thailand.
In an interview to Thai newspaper The Nation, Wadhwa said the four-day India-Asean summit to be held on December 19 will focus on connectivity with Asean countries. Separately, sources said, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra and PM Manmohan Singh are expected to meet on the sidelines of the summit to push forward the trilateral highway project.
Wadhwa said the feasibility of the highway was complete and construction would start soon.
The trilateral highway, which is also being funded by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, will open up India’s northeastern states to southeast Asia. “This will connect India with Myanmar all the way down to Mandalay. After that, we will connect with a place where the Thai authorities are building a highway, which is 63km from the Thai border into Myanmar,” Wadhwa was quoted as saying.
“The trilateral highway project will allow freight and container trucks to move across the borders from India to Myanmar and Thailand via Chiang Rai and border towns. It will play a crucial role in boosting trade and investment flows in the three countries, creating jobs and other benefits,” he said.
“We expect this to benefit India’s northeastern region as well, as four of our states are on the border with Myanmar, especially if there is connectivity to ports like the planned Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate in Myanmar,” Wadhwa added.