‘India to connect better with neighbours via infra projects’
With support of Asian Development Bank (ADB), India is developing various infrastructure projects worth $5 billion in South Asia to improve connectivity in the region.
“With ADB support, India is presently developing two priority road corridors. The first will connect India with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan through the ‘chicken neck’ area of North Bengal,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) 2025 workshop here.
The second road corridor will establish India-Myanmar connectivity in Manipur, he said, adding Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at Agartala and Petrapole on India-Bangladesh border will be operationalised.
“Another ICP at Moreh on India-Myanmar border will be developed. We are also planning to establish ICPs and improved Land Customs Stations (LCS) at key border points with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to ease the movement of goods and people within the subregion. “India is planning to develop regional connectivity projects worth almost $5 billion in SASEC,” he said.
India has also been assisting its neighbours in the sub-continent to improve their power situation. The India-Bangladesh transmission line is providing safe and reliable interconnection of the power grids to supply 500 mw of power to Bangladesh, he said.
The 1,320 mw Maitree Thermal Power Project, a joint venture of NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board, will be developed, he said. The Power Grid Corporation of India is also engaged in developing three 230 kv transmission lines in Myanmar with the support of a credit line of $64 million between the Exim Bank of India and the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, he added.
Discussions are also on for a 1,680 km mega gas pipeline project linking Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan with India, he said, adding that at the request of the four participating countries, ADB has agreed to house the secretariat of this project.
Recently, India has launched a major port-led development initiative called ‘Sagarmala’, which will help modernise ports and coastlines to contribute more to growth.
About 90 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 70 per cent by value are moved through ports and the major ports thus play a key role in facilitating external trade.
The focus has been on improving the port infrastructure, modernisation of existing facilities and increasing the capacity and draught at ports, he said.
“Apart from the modernisation of the existing ports in the east coast, India is developing two new ports on the same coast line at Dugarajapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Sagar Island in West Bengal. These ports will further enhance our trade with the neighbours and ASEAN countries,” Das said.
Das further said India is also developing the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC), with ADB as lead partner, and Vizag Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) project is part of the first phase.
The goal of the ECEC is not only to generate domestic output and employment, but also to create a more competitive environment for the development of trade and industry in the region, he said.
The ECEC will facilitate the movement of the bulk of India’s major natural resources like coal and iron ore and can serve as a node for extractive and downstream value-added industries, he said.
Earlier, Shaktikanta Das has said that the country plans to further liberalise rules for overseas investors as the government looks to reduce the need for approvals, said the top bureaucrat charged with managing the economy.
He also pledged a strong focus on the execution of Budget announcements and ensuring that there are no delays in investments by key ministries.
With a normal monsoon being forecast, the government will push for near-8 per cent growth in the current year and lift it further over the medium term. In the last round of FDI reforms, the government had raised the overseas investment limit for sectors such as defence and civil aviation while putting many others on the automatic route.