Skip to main content

Bangladesh alternative more vital for NE India than Kaladan project in Myanmar

By Mehjabin Bhanu* 

There has been a recent surge in the number of Chin refugees entering Mizoram from the adjacent nation as a result of airstrikes by the Myanmar Army on ethnic insurgents and intense fighting along the border between India and Myanmar. Uncertainty has surrounded India's Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project, which uses Sittwe port in Myanmar, due to the recent outbreak of hostilities along the Mizoram-Myanmar border.
Construction on the road portion of the Kaladan project, which runs from Paletwa in Myanmar to Zorinpui in Mizoram, was resumed thanks to the time of relative calm during the intermittent period. However, recent unrest has increased concerns about missing the revised commissioning goal dates. The project's goal is to link northeastern states with the rest of India via an alternate route, using the Sittwe port in Myanmar.
In addition to this route, India can also connect the region with the rest of India through Assam by using the Chittagong port in Bangladesh to link it with Tripura, the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route to connect it with Bangladesh's inland waterways, and the Brahmaputra train line to connect Kolkata, Dhaka, and Agartala via Akhaura. Bangladesh and India are connected via the highly acclaimed Agartala-Akhaura international railway. Before independence, there existed a rail connection between Agartala and other locations.
At this moment, the railway that runs between Akhaura and Agartala is beginning to prosper. Additionally, the ports of Chattogram and Mongla in Bangladesh are open to Indian businessmen sending products under an agreement between Bangladesh and India. India and Bangladesh have decided to proceed with a railway project that would promote tourism, commerce, and economic growth between the two nations.
The initiative will improve border connections, encourage small enterprises, increase tourism in the northeast, and allow Indian entrepreneurs to ship products via Bangladeshi ports. The Ramgarh Land Port will benefit India.Trade between Bangladesh and Myanmar and regional growth India and Bangladesh must be friends for the sake of their respective countries. The enhanced road and rail links between Bangladesh and India would provide new avenues for trade and business.
The distant Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, where the Ramgarh land port is now being built in the Khagrachari district, would benefit the nation's economy overall as well as that of this area. It may be a crucial project for the growth of local businesses and the economy. The utilisation of this port would assist the nation's commercial hub, Chittagong, as well as the seven states known as the "Seven Sisters" in northeastern India, Cox's Bazar, Chittagong Hill Tracts, and other tourist destinations.
The expansion of commerce and mutual ties would strengthen the amicable ties between Bangladesh and India. India would be able to get commodities in less time and at a lower cost if Ramgarh Port is built since Chittagong Seaport is just 112 km away, making transshipment to India considerably simpler. Road connectivity between Tripura and the northeastern Indian states of Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh will be created. In light of this, Bangladesh desires friendship with India for the benefit of its own growth.
Via the Line of Credit (LoC) mechanism, India has made a number of investments in Bangladesh, notably the upgrading of the Ramgarh road. Chittagong and Dhaka would be linked to Sabrum in Tripura and Ramgarh in Khagrachari with the implementation of this project. The completion date of the work is set for December 31, 2024. The road's construction will be handled by Indian firm Ashoka Buildcon Limited.
Residents of Tripura are able to utilise both Chittagong airport and ports. The new economic route connecting the two nations will be the land port of Ramgarh. Then, visiting Cox's Bazar, which has one of the longest beaches in the world, would be simpler for Indian visitors. Additionally, it will be easier for residents of Chittagong and the Chittagong Hill Tracts to go to Northeast India, and commerce between India and the Rakhine and Chin regions of Myanmar would speed up.
The people of the three nations will benefit from the operationalization of the Ramgarh land port, which will provide new opportunities. Japan, a strong friend of Bangladesh and India, is eager to become involved in the area. The geopolitics of the area may gain a major geo-economic component from the Northeast-Bangladesh economic corridor. Japan's contribution to the establishment of an industrial value-chain linking Bangladesh and Northeast India as well as the northeastern region (NER) to the Bay of Bengal might have a major impact on regional connetivity.
In addition to alleviating travel time and distance constraints and mitigating security and instability issues, the strategic significance of the alternate routes via Bangladesh may lie in their potential to lessen reliance on the slender Chicken Neck Corridor for surface connectivity between the northeastern region and the rest of India. Indian businessmen, investors, and tourist sector players who are investigating new trade and commerce potential via seaports and connection projects in Myanmar are concerned about the security instability in that country.
In this instance, India's best bet may be to employ Bangladeshi ports, such Chittagong port, as well as projects involving interior waterways, railroads, and roads. In order to keep anti-Indian forces from undermining India's plans to expand bilateral and multilateral engagements under the Act East Policy and Neighbourhood First policy and establish the northeast region as the entry point to the sub-region, India must continue to be on guard against these forces.
Concerns for the stability in Rakhine State and Chin State, as well as the possibility that the Kaladan project may remain precarious for an extended length of time, have also been raised by reports of Arakan Army columns entering Chin State, Myanmar, and occupying a number of towns, including Paletwa. Time and expense will increase much more if the Kaladan project is delayed. Between 2010 and 2022, the project's expected cost increased from Rs 530 crore to Rs 3200 crore. 
The project component consists of the previously finished construction of the Sittwe port and inland waterways that run 158 km along the River Kaladan from Sittwe to Paletwa. Despite Sittwe Port's May opening, the multimodal project has not yet been put into service because domestic unrest in Myanmar has slowed down and delayed the work of the road portion, which runs 110 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui. 
The first Indian cargo ship to sail from Kolkata port and travel the 539 km sea route between Kolkata and Sittwe was flagged off by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, AYUSH Sarbananda Sonowal, and Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister for Transport and Communications, Admiral Tin Aung San of Myanmar. Together, they inaugurated the port.
India has to tread carefully when it comes to Myanmar's unstable domestic affairs. It needs to be conscious of the ways in which Revel groups in Myanmar might undermine peace in the northeastern regions by using them as a launching pad. Forces hostile to India's interests would support rebel organisations in the northeast and encourage drug dealers to supply the area with illegal substances.
Thus, the concern has been raised by the growing number of Myanmar refugees seeking safety in Mizoram. However, India's Bangladesh alternative saves money, and time, and is reliable and safe. In order to maintain India's cross-border connection and hasten development in the northeastern area, it is still necessary to use Bangladesh alternatives like land ports, sea ports, and corridors.
*Bangladeshi columnist, security and strategic affairs analyst, teacher



Towards 2024: Time for ‘We the People of India’ to wake up before it is too late

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is Constitution Day once again! We, the people of India, gratefully remember 26 November 1949 when the Constitution of India was passed and adopted by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly comprised women and men of distinction, who were able to represent the heart and soul of the people of India without fear or favour. They gave of their best, so that we may a visionary Constitution, which would be the mainstay for and of democracy in India!

Eight years of empowering tribal communities through water initiatives in Chhattisgarh

By Gazala Paul*   In the heart of Chhattisgarh, amidst the echoes of tribal life, a transformative journey has unfolded over the past eight years. The Samerth organization has diligently worked to elevate the lives of indigenous communities in the Kawardha district through the project, "Enabling Baiga Community to access safe drinking water." 

Regretful: Kapil Dev retired not leaving Indian cricket with integrity he upheld

By Harsh Thakor  Kapil Dev scaled heights as an entertainer and a player upholding the spirit of the game almost unparalleled in his era. In his time he was cricket’s ultimate mascot of sportsmanship On his day Kapil could dazzle in all departments to turn the tempo of game in the manner of a Tsunami breaking in. He radiated r energy, at a level rarely scaled in his era on a cricket field. Few ever blended aggression with artistry so comprehenisively. Although fast medium, he could be as daunting with the ball as the very best, with his crafty outswinger, offcutter, slower ball and ball that kicked from a good length. Inspite of bowling on docile tracks on the subcontinent, Kapil had 434 scalps, with virtually no assistance. I can never forget how he obtained pace and movement on flat pancakes, trapping the great Vivian Richards in Front or getting Geoff Boycott or Zaheer Abbas caught behind. No paceman carried the workload of his team’s bowling attack on his shoulders in his eras muc

Critical factors that determine, contribute to the success and effectiveness of NGOs

By Rohit Rakshit  Over the last few years, I have been fortunate to work with numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across various states in the country. This experience has allowed me to gain insights into their diverse areas of work while also enabling me to analyze the key attributes that contribute to the success of a good NGO. According to my observations, the following are the critical factors that determine the effectiveness of an NGO.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Raising temperature of frozen foods by 3 degrees from -18°C to -15°C can slash carbon emissions: Study

By Payel Sannigrahi  Frozen food temperatures could be changed by just three degrees to save the carbon dioxide emissions of 3.8 million cars per year, research suggests. 

Odisha leadership crisis deepens: CM engages retired babus to oversee depts' work

By Sudhansu R Das  Over decades, Odisha has lost much of its crop diversity, fertile agriculture land, water bodies, employment potential, handicraft and handloom skills etc. The state has failed to strike a balance between the urban and rural sector growth; this leads to the migration of villagers to the urban areas leading to collapse of the urban infrastructures and an acute labor shortage in rural areas.  A large number of educated, skilled and unskilled Odia people have migrated to other states for higher education, quality jobs and for earning livelihood which plummet the efficiency level of government departments. Utmost transparency in the recruitment and promotion in the state government departments will improve governance mechanisms in the state.  "No near and dear one approach" in governance mechanisms can only achieve inclusive growth for the state on payment basis. This is a moral hazard. When so many educated young people seek employment outside the

20% of Indian businesses have no emission plan in place despite climate emergency: Report

By Jag Jivan   New research underlines urgent need for strategies and transition plans to combat climate change, remain successful and meet stakeholder expectations.

TERI researchers outline ways for robust, equitable and flexible outcome at COP28

By Sanya Hans  Researchers at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) launched two crucial policy briefs ahead of the much anticipated 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) scheduled from November 30 to December 12, 2023 at Dubai, UAE.  Former climate negotiator, Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, a Distinguished Fellow at TERI emphasized, “Adaptation is an imperative and absolute must in present times for the Global South. COP28 needs to make the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) integral to climate commitments and action”.  “Climate change demands that energy use must be sustainable; the development imperative of the Global South demands it to be inclusive, just and fair," Mr Puri added.   Outcome on GGA will be a key determinant for the success of COP28   The policy brief titled ‘Road to Dubai and The Global Goal on Adaption’ reviewed the discussions around the GGA framework to provide perspectives on what could be a robust, equitable, and flexible outcome of the GGA process at CO

1982-83 Bombay textile strike played major role in shaping working class movement

By Harsh Thakor  On January 18th, 1982 the working class movement commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Textile Workers Strike that lasted for 18 months, till July 1983. It was landmark event that played a major role in shaping the working class movement. With more than 2.5 lakh workers from 65 textile mills joining in this strike for almost two years, this strike became one of the most significant strikes in terms of scale and duration All democrats should applaud the mill workers’ united battle, and their unflinching resilience an death defying courage continues to serve as a model for contemporary working-class movements. Many middle class persons harboured opinions that the Textile workers were pampered or were a labour aristocracy, ignorant of how they were denied wages to provide for basic necessities. The Great Bombay Textile Strike is notably one of the most defining movements in the working class struggles in Post-independent India. Bombay’s textile industry flourished in