ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
India-Myanmar border trade zone projects pick up
A visiting Indian minister who dropped in to India’s northeastern Manipur State said the central government is keen to develop several trade and plantation projects in the region as part of the state’s Special Economic Zone, according to the Nagaland Post on February 11.
Indian Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her two-day visit on February 10 after inspecting the various development projects at Moreh, Manipur’s town on the border with Myanmar.
Before flying to Moreh, the Union minister took stock of the development of a timber park at Kakching under state’s SEZ.
Ms Nirmala said the government was ready to provide adequate compensation and rehabilitation for farmers affected by the SEZ project.
During her meeting in Manipur, she discussed the strengthening of border trade with Myanmar.
Manipur State is carrying out a feasibility study to set up a trade zone at the border village of Behiang abutting Myanmar’s Chin State, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar February 9.
Agreement on the establishment of the zone was signed by the two countries in 2012 to promote trade. The project will use 2,500 hectares of land in Churachanpur district and include a customs office to facilitate exports and imports, a trade zone, and border market, and involve the building of a direct road, which will shorten the travel distance.
Chin State Chief Minister U Hong Ngai said the proposed area for the new border trade zone is the most appropriate for the two countries, shortening the current route between the two countries by about 70 miles.
Behiang trade zone will be funded by the central government of India, while the Manipur government will construct the road.
Myanmar is currently exporting agricultural products to India through a border crossing in Behiang village, although it has not officially been opened.
Bilateral trade volume between the two countries is targeted to reach US$3 billion [K3,000 billion] in 2015, while ASEAN-India trade is expected to hit $100 billion during the same period.
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