India Myanmar Thailand Trilateral (IMT) Highway: Location, significance, benefits and other details
Why in News?
The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway starts from India and goes to Thailand via Myanmar. It is at the centre of transport diplomacy among ASEAN countries. Recently Bangladesh has shown its willingness to join the tripartite highway.
About the IMT Trilateral Highway:
- The highway's Imphal-Moreh portion on the Indian side, however, is expected to be completed only by 2023.
- It will be linking Moreh (India) -Bagan (Myanmar) -Mae Sot (Thailand)
- This highway is expected to help greatly in the transport connectivity which is almost 3660 km long cross border highway network and is currently under construction, expected to be completed by 2021.
- The transnational highway connectivity was envisaged to enable trade from India to the other ASEAN nations.
- It was decided to extend the Trilateral Highway to Lao PDR and Cambodia to deepen the India-ASEAN Relations at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2012.
Bangladesh’s desire to join:
- Bangladesh is interested in joining the IMT Trilateral Highway to enhance the connectivity with South East Asia. It wants to open new chapters in trans border corridors in the Indo Pacific Region.
- Recently India Bangladesh Virtual Summit was held where the latter expressed its willingness to join the IMT Highway. Sheikh Hasina the Bangladesh PM wished Narendra Modi to help Bangladesh in its efforts.
- Also to commemorate the significance of the road from Mujib Nagar to Nodia on Bangladesh-India border during the Liberation War, Bangladesh proposed to name it as “Shadhinota Shorok”.
- Bangladesh wishes to join it now as BCIM, Bangladesh China India Myanmar corridor has made little progress. Also, India skipped the Belt and Road Forum which led to exclusion of BCIM Corridor from the list of projects covered by BRI.
- Bangladesh also wants to trade with Nepal through India. It wants to use Indian roadways to get its trucks into Nepal. What is Digital Lending? Read here
Benefits of the project
- The India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) highways project is aimed at opening the gate to ASEAN through the land.
- The project will boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with the rest of Southeast Asia.
- Since India has been working towards increasing its engagements with South East Asia under its `Act East Policy’ the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the region.
India’s efforts under the project:
India has undertaken the construction of two sections of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar. These are the 120.74 km Kalewa-Yagyi road section and 69 bridges along with the approach road on the 149.70 km Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section.
India requested for one Land Port without a negative list, starting with Agartala-Akhaura and for transportation of goods from Chattogram port to the North East of India. India also proposed that its trucks use the Feni Bridge, once it is complete.
Recently India and Bangladesh have expanded their transport and connectivity routes. Sonamura Daudkandi Inland Waterway Route, Feni Bridge from Sabroom to Ramgarh and Haldibari Chilahati rail route are its examples. Leaving India aside now it is upto Thailand and Myanmar to accept Bangladesh to join IMT Highway.