Connectivity For Development - Eastern Mirror
Monday, April 15, 2024
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Editorial

Connectivity for Development

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 30, 2023 12:13 am

The Kaladan Multi-Modal Tranship Transport Project (KMMTTP) may likely usher in a new era of economic prosperity for the Northeastern region. The project which started way back in 2008 is now almost ready to provide new fillip to trade and commerce in the region. Under this project, India has developed Sittwe port on the western Rakhine coast of Myanmar and connected it through a river channel along the Kaladan River and a 109 km highway with Zorinpui situated on the Indo-Myanmar border in Mizoram, a place which has been connected with all the important areas of the Northeast by a road network. This is a shorter and more convenient path to transport goods to the Northeast than the existing route through Kolkata and Siliguri. Moreover, this new route will be cheaper and soon goods such as petroleum, timber, cement, etc. will be transported through this new route. Additionally, this project is expected to be an essential stepping stone in improving economic and social ties between India and South-East Asia.

The project has long been envisaged to bring the North Eastern region closer to the mainland, which will not only benefit India, but the entire South and South-East Asian region as a whole. The importance of this project cannot be overstated as prior efforts to develop road connectivity between India and the South-East Asian nations have not been successful, which in turn, explains the largely lukewarm response towards the ‘Act East’ policy. It is hoped that the KMMTTP will bring a vast proportion of the Asian continent closer, bringing with it the potential to change the economic landscape completely. For India, Myanmar is the gateway to South-East Asia as through this country India can establish connectivity with all nations situated in the region. Such a link can provide a tremendous boost to the manufacturing sector in the Northeastern region as south-east asian nations will provide the much-needed market.

If good connectivity is established between South and South-East Asia, the Northeast has the potential to become a software hub as the climate is favourable for IT-related industries. The advantages of improved connectivity was highlighted in a report by the world bank, it stated that national income of both Bangladesh and India could increase by 17 per cent and 8 per cent respectively, if the countries decide to enhance connectivity. The same result is expected to occur when KMMTTP begins functioning and goods reach Sittwe port directly from Kolkata.

Despite its rich natural resources, the region remains backward due to lack of connectivity and artificially drawn borders, which has snapped all traditional links between India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. KMMTTP provides fresh hope that not only will new links be developed for better connectivity, but traditional links also will be restored to open a new chapter of prosperity and development in a region which has been suffering for more than seven decades through no fault of its own. The impending completion of this project represents the first step towards breaking the cycle of underdevelopment that has plagued the Northeast for years.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 30, 2023 12:13:47 am
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