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India sharpens focus on Kaladan transit project to connect the northeast with Southeast Asia

A port operator jointly appointed by the governments of India and Myanmar has started maintenance work from February 2020

Efforts are underway for an expeditious completion of the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project which pivots on Sittwe port in Myanmar and will upon completion connect India's northeast to South East Asia.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan informed that progress on construction work of the road component of the project has been slow, mainly due to the security situation on the Myanmar side and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Kaladan project includes a waterways component of 158 km on the Kaladan river from Sittwe Port to Paletwa in Myanmar and a road component of 109 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui on the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram state.

The revised project cost approved by the Union Cabinet in October 2015 is Rs 2904.04 crore. As on date, an amount of Rs. 629 crore has been utilised, the minister told Parliament today.

The waterways component comprising Port and Inland Water Transport (IWT) terminal at Sittwe; IWT terminal and related facilities at Paletwa; navigational channel along Kaladan river from Sittwe to Paletwa; and six self-propelled IWT vessels have been completed.

A port operator jointly appointed by the governments of India and Myanmar has also started maintenance work from February 2020.

Myanmar

During his visit to Myanmar last December, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had expressed India's continued support for people-centric socio-economic developmental projects, including those along the India-Myanmar border areas, as well as India's commitment for expeditious implementation of ongoing connectivity initiatives such as the Kaladan project and the Trilateral Highway.

The Foreign Secretary had also reiterated India's commitment to continue with the projects under Rakhine State Development Programme and Border Area Development Programme for the benefit of the people of Myanmar.

India shares an approximately 1700-km long border with Myanmar and any developments in the country have a direct impact on India's bordering regions.

"Peace and stability in Myanmar remain of utmost importance to India, specifically to its North Eastern Region," Shringla had emphasised during his visit.

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