Struggling India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway

 | Tue 3 Dec 2013 09:42 ICT

CityNews – The India-Myanmar-Thailand highway, projected to be operational by 2016, has been a topic of discussion for Indian and Myanmar scholars at a seminar held in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar.

The scholars met to discuss connectivity, trade facilitation, and the access to the border gate in Tamu, Myanmar and Moreh, India through Mandalay.  They also discussed the future upgrade of the Moreh-Imphur highway and the building of a railroad through Imphur by 2017.

The proposed highway plan was conceived at a trilateral meeting in Yangon in 2002. The completion of the highway will not only be a significant step towards boosting the economy of the three nations, but also solidify the connection between the three. The increased opportunity to trade and exchange culture between the countries could mean a brighter future for all involved.

There are a few setbacks in the plan so far, with one being the financial weakness of Myanmar. Some parts of the highway in the nation remain barely built or untouched. Myanmar has also caused tensions between the other two countries by expecting them to burden the cost of the highway in Myanmar itself, while they also take care of the highway construction on their own soil.

Another cause for concern are the volatile border areas between India and Myanmar. There are countless cases of drug trafficking, illegal trade and insurgencies in these areas and some researchers have speculated that the completed highway would only intensify these problems in the future. The Myanmar-Thailand border areas also present their own set of problems, namely the influx of illegal immigrants and refugees into Thailand, which is also related to internal conflicts between ethnic groups, and the narcotics trade.