India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar in the third week of December 2013 held the first ever official-level discussions on the ambitious corridor to link India and China with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The BCIM corridor faced a rapid boost for the first time after it was discussed with ministerial level talk. The four member countries namely, Bangladesh, India, China, and Myanmar proposed the establishment of the BCIM Forum for regional cooperation.
Over the next six months, each country will come up with a joint study report proposing concrete projects and financing modalities, before the next meeting of the four nations in June 2014.
The next meeting would be hosted by Bangladesh.
Presently, the four countries come up with an ambitious proposal that included developing multi-modal transport, such as road, rail, waterways and airways, joint power projects and telecommunication networks.
As a first step, the four countries will identify realistic and achievable infrastructure projects to boost physical connectivity.
The linking of all four countries by road has further strengthen the notion that this corridor would subsequently open up the whole of the northeastern region of India to Southeast Asia and China and turn it into a significant channel of trade.
The corridor would cover 1.65 million square kilometers encompassing an estimated 440 million people in the regions of Yunnan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, West Bengal, Bihar and states in Northern India.
The establishment of a trade corridor by the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) was an idea originally developed by Chinese scholars in Kunming at the end of the 1990s, and then it is called the Kunming Initiative.
The Kunming Initiative evolved into the BCIM Forum for Regional Cooperation during its first meeting in 1999.
Benefits of the Trade Corridor
The economic advantages of the BCIM trade corridor are considerable, most notably
• Access to numerous markets in Southeast Asia,
• Improvement of transportation infrastructure and
• Creation of industrial zones
The construction of industrial zones will have a twofold benefit
• Firstly, it will lead to industrial transfer boosting industries such as processing, manufacturing and commerce logistics.
• Secondly, as labor costs rise in China, labor-intensive industries such as textile and agro-processing will eventually be shifted out of China. These industries will need to be transferred to new regions with lower labor costs.
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