Editorial – October 2017

Myanmar, the only ASEAN country that has an unfenced border with four of our north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh (520 km) Manipur (398 km) Nagaland (215 km) and Mizoram (510 km) is the destination for India’s major road and highway building activity. And many projects are flowing that will transform Myanmar and the north-eastern part of India. It also establishes India as a major player in the Asian Highway project.

In the first week of September 2017, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral visit to Myanmar, road construction and maintenance contract to the tune of Rs 1,177 cr was awarded. This relates to the upgradation of a critical 120.74 km Yagyi-Kalewa section in Myanmar and replacement and repair of major and minor bridges on the route. Road building is to be completed with 36 months and the contract entails further maintenance for another five years. It is an MEA project, being implemented by NHAI.

On the Indian side, in the north-east, a Rs 1,630 cr Imphal-Moreh 65 km road project has been approved. Moreh is located on the India-Myanmar border. Another project with deep bilateral impacts is the Aizawl-Tuipang NH stretching 352 km. The centre has cleared Rs 6,167 cr for this. JICA (Japan International Co-operation Agency) is putting in Rs 4,487 cr for this project.

Then there is the ambitious trilateral India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT). The route plan involves extensions into Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. It will be a key ASEAN transport ecosystem with massive trade and travel spin-offs. IMT will have common sections with the Asian Highway project.

The AKIC (Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor) will also feed into the Asian Highway project.

Read the details of these national and transnational projects and view the maps in our cover story. Not only do these projects reflect India’s heft as a leading infrastructure provider in Asia, but are also bringing in big chunks of multilateral funding and some great contracts for the Indian companies.