'Efforts underway to operationalise vital infra links between India, CLMV countries'
New Delhi: Efforts are underway to operationalise key infrastructure links between Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) countries and India for better economic integration in the region, a top government official said on Thursday.
Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Guruprasad Mohapatra said the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway will serve as a lifeline for Mekong and North-East region of India.
India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on about 1,400-km-long highway that would link the country with Southeast Asia by land and give a boost to trade, business, health, education and tourism ties among the three countries.
"Efforts are underway to operationalise vital infrastructure links between CLMV countries and India for better economic integration," Mohapatra said at CII's India-CLMV Business Conclave 2020.
He also said a project development fund was set up with a corpus of $75 million to promote trade and investments in CLMV countries as well as to help integrate domestic producers and manufacturers in the regional value chains.
The two-way trade between India and CLMV countries has increased from $1.1 billion to $14.1 billion in 2019-20.
Further, the secretary said that the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project will also enhance connectivity between India and Mekong river region.
"Our aim is to reach our friends in Southeast Asia through the north-eastern frontier of India and in turn achieve development for our people and partners," he added.
Mohapatra added that the natural resource potential of north-east India and CLMV countries offers unique opportunities for developing an export-oriented economy. "This will enhance investment potential and bring comprehensive industrial development."
Speaking at the conclave, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that currently, work is being done on the early operationalisation of the trilateral highway and a proposal is also being considered by Laos for eastward extension of this highway.
He also said, "We look forward to an enhanced cooperation and collaboration between ASEAN countries on COVID-19 vaccine and drug development. Even we are ready to share COVID-19 vaccine with them whenever it is made available."