Water links from India to Myanmar
To strengthen ties with Myanmar, the Government has asked the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) to start fresh shipping lines between India and its Eastern neighbour.
to sources, “The Trade & Economic Relations Committee under the PM’s office has i ssued a fresh mandate to increase ties with Myanmar, keeping in mind i ts i mportance as a strategic trade par tner, both in terms of i mports and exports in the i mmediate neighbourhood.”
Officials in the external affairs, commerce and shipping ministries, and industry bodies are understood to have met on this issue and have asked SCI to make its first move soon. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi was likely to announce this on his maiden Independence Day speech on August 15, but given the logistical barriers, it is likely to be flagged off in September,” the official added.
For this, SCI would be given a subsidy for the first six months. At the meeting, SCI had expressed concerns over a direct competition from the Chinese shipping liners that already operate on this route and have cheaper facilities available.
The first shipping line is likely to be flagged off from Krishnapattam port in Andhra Pradesh.
The two neighbours have already agreed to enhance their trade to US$3 billion by 2015. Myanmar had agreed to encourage investments by Indian companies, both public and private, in oil and natural gas sector, information technology, fertilisers and other smallscale development projects in the border regions.
In the maritime arena, the two sides have reiterated their commitment to cooperate in the implementation of the Tamathi and Shwezaye projects on the Chindwin River Basin in Myanmar. The Indian side has further assured Myanmar of the completion of the Kaladaan project by 2014 and the Trilateral Highway by 2016.