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India to improve Stillwell Road towards Myanmar and Thailand
After the recent discussions with Arunachal Pradesh Governor JJ Singh, Union Minister of state for..

THE GOVERNOR said that the border trade agreement between India and Myanmar was signed on 21st January 1994 while border trade has been officially going on at Moreh in Manipur, Nampong in Changlang district of Arunachal near the Pangsau Pass where a border trade centre inaugurated by the then Union MoS Commerce The inauguration of a Border Trade Centre (BTC) at Nampong in Nov 1997 by Union Minister of State for Trade and Commerce Jairam Ramesh was practically lying defunct. Now Myanmar government is interested to upgrade the historic Stillwell Road and more package has been under taken by the both government. The new road will start from Mizoram and will soon be a tri-nation India-Myanmar-Thailand highway.

Most imports from Myanmar and China are currently being channelled through the Kolkata dock, a much longer sea-route than the Stilwell Road, he said, adding that re-opening of this road will reduce transportation costs between China and India by more than 30%. Underscoring the significance of border trade with the neighbouring south eastern countries, the Minister pointed that as teak would be the major item of import from Myanmar, which in turn would help preserve the state’s valuable forest reserves, it will also transform the economy of the under-developed and insurgency-affected North Eastern region by making it a production hub for feeding the Myanmarese and western Chinese markets.

The tread relation between Myanmar and India has already started and it is a good result for our country. Recently, Myanmar President came and the Indian government sanctioned 500 milion for the development of Myanmar and Rs 150 crore for a friendship road, which has already been completed by the India government, the minister stated. The Myanmar government is interested in developing the down stream road near Nagaland and Manipur and connected it to Stillwell Road.

The 1736-km Stilwell Road from Ledo in Assam to Kunming in Yunan province of China was built by the Americans during WW-II (during Dec 1942 to Jan 1945) for the Western Allies to supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road, which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. Taking up the cause of air passengers, especially from Tezpur, the minister said that he will urge the ministry concerned for regular daily Boeing service from Lilabari to Tezpur Salonibari via Guwahati.

Though an ATR flight operates on Lilabari-Gauhati route for few days a week, but the timings were highly inconvenient and the flight highly irregular and undependable. Therefore, he suggested daily Boeing service till proposed Green field airport comes up at Itanagar. The Governor also expressed his concern at the sprogress of upgradation of Tezu airport, a central project to improve air connectivity of this land-locked state. The minister also said that the Silk Road from Balipara to Tawang in under construction, and is another important road which is already sanctioned in the border area in Arunachal Pradesh offering direct connectivity towards Itanagar in the state capital.

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