India, China to fast track BCIM Economic Corridor project


India and China are looking to expedite the establishment of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, which is aimed at integrating and enhancing trade and investment between the four neighbouring countries.

The fist expressway between India and China will link provinces and states in the region — from Yunnan to West Bengal — thorough a multi-mode road. The main artery of the 2,800-km, from Kolkata to Kunming corridor, is nearly ready. A stretch of about 200 kilometre, from Kalewa to Monywa in Myanmar, needs to be upgraded as an all-weather road, while India is upgrading the segment between Silchar in Assam and Imphal in Manipur.

Chinese officials said that India was earlier reluctant to go ahead with the BCIM economic corridor, but it is now showing enthusiasm over the project, which will connect Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province, to Kolkata in India. The corridor will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh, with Mandalay and Dhaka among the other focal points.

The corridor will originate from Kolkata and head towards Benapole, a border crossing town in Bangladesh. It will pass through Dhaka and Sylhet, and will re-enter the Indian Territory near Silchar in Assam. The rest of the corridor will be linked with Imphal in Sikkim, and then will go through the India-built Tamu-Kalewa friendship road in Myanmar.

In Myanmar, the corridor will cross via Lashio and Muse before the next focal point in Mandalay, Myanmar before entering into Yunnan, southwestern China. The Chinese stretch extends from Ruili to Kunming via Longling and Dali.

The prime agenda of this project is to enhance connectivity and people-to-people contacts. The corridor will provide the four countries greater access to markets in Southeast Asia, and enhance trade facilitation, infrastructure, joint exploration and development of mineral, water, and other natural resources.