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India pushing trilateral project to connect NE with SE Asia

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Having rejected China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative on the ground that it would  compromise its sovereignty, India is now working on its own three-nation ‘Trilateral Highway’ project that will connect the country to Thailand and Myanmar.

The project is currently under implementation as a part of the Narendra Modi government’s Look East policy and an ambitious plan of connecting Northeastern states and the rest of the country to South East Asian countries.

Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh revealed this on Tuesday while releasing two booklets on depicting the "key initiatives taken by the Union Government and progress achieved during the last three years" of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

One booklet “Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER)’ gives details of the strategically important projects being undertaken in  eight northeastern states including Arunachal Pradesh, which Prime Minister Modi described as ‘Ashta Lakshmi’ and the ‘Trilateral Highway’ project connecting India to South East Asia.

"India is funding construction of 69 bridges on Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa road (149.70 km) section and 120.74 km road between Kalewa and Yargi section of India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway in Myanmar to improve connectivity with South East Asia by road. The Trilateral Highway starts from Moreh in Indian state of Manipur and goes up to Mae Sot in Thailand through Myanmar,” Jitendra Singh said.

The minister elaborated on various developmental initiatives under Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) being undertaken in the ‘strategically important’ state of Arunachal Pradesh which  China claims belongs to it,  a contention rejected outright by India.

“The government has approved Rs 1618.39 crore with the Centre’s share of Rs 1456.73 crore towards various development projects in Arunachal Pradesh. Of this 13.39 per cent has been earmarked for education, 1.79 per cent for health, 4.47 per cent for power, 60.71 per cent for road and bridges construction, 2.67 per cent for sports and 10.72 per cent for water supply besides 6.25 per cent towards miscellaneous expenditure,” Singh said.

The second booklet by the Department of Personnel and Training under Singh highlights the fulfillment of various promises made by PM Modi on 15 August 2015 from the ramparts of the Red Fort, including abolition of interviews for all lower level posts. It mentions the Digital India initiative and the efforts to usher in transparency in all spheres of governance. 

 Secretary (Personnel) B P Sharma, Secretary, North Eastern Council (NEC) Ram Muivah, Additional Secretary, DARPG, Usha Sharma, Additional Secretary, DoP&PW  Vandana Sharma, Head, Nuclear Control & Planning Wing, Department of Atomic Energy Ranajit Kumar, Director, National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad Y V N Krishnamurty and other senior officers were also present.