India, Myanmar expects Kaladan project to increase border trade

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Apr 3 | Updated: Apr 5 2008, 05:08am hrs
India and Myanmar has decided to increase the border trade between the two countries which at present is limited to 22 select items.

Both sides expect that the agreement on the Kaladan multi-modal transit-cum-transport project signed on Wednesday night would help to increase connectivity between the two countries. The Indian minister of state for commerce, Jairam Ramesh said that the Rs 548 crore project would be entirely funded by India and the Inland Waterways Authority of India has been appointed as project development consultant.

The project would link by road Kolkata in India to Sittwe, Kaleutwa in Myanmar and would touch the Mizoram in India. It envisages development of 225 km waterway on the river Kaladan and upgradation of the ports and construction of two roadways.

The Myanmar senior general, Maunge Aye is leading a strong official and business delegation to India. Myanmar has also sought India's cooperation in exploration of hydrocarbons, oil and natural and also for setting up of refineries. It has sought Indian cooperation in higher education, mining, IT and science and technology.

Ramesh said, The northeastern India would be able to boost its border trade with Myanmar.We will also consider opening up of trading points Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

The president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), U Win Myint said that Myanmar's exports to India in border trade declined from $ 11.325 million in 2004-05 to $ 11.176 million in 2005-06, while India's exports across the border increased from $ 4.443 million to $ 5.533 million in 2005-06. The trade increased from $ 15.768 million in 2004-05 to $ 16.709 million in 2005-06.