India and Myanmar to boost trade: Minister

Wednesday, 29 October 2008, 03:49 Hrs
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Agartala: India has taken a slew of measures to boost trade with South Asian countries through Myanmar after Bangladesh refused transit for enhancing business, central Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said Monday.

"India and Myanmar have agreed to open two more border trade centers at Zowkhathar in Mizoram and Avakhung in Nagaland in addition to the existing centers at Moreh in Manipur," he told journalists here.

India is developing the Sittwe port in Myanmar at a cost of 5.4 billion and the port on the Kaladan river would be a gateway for the northeastern states to the rest of the world, the minister said.

"Myanmar had become a country of critical importance to India in terms of trade and commerce as Dhaka has denied transit to New Delhi through Bangladesh," Ramesh said.

The Kaladan river connects the northeastern state of Mizoram to the Bay of Bengal.

New Delhi's move to develop the Sittwe port in western Myanmar assumes significance in view of Bangladesh's reported reluctance to give India access to Chittagong, Ashuganj and other ports for transportation of goods to the northeast region and the rest of India.

"We can also bring goods from Sittwe to any Indian port by using sea routes as the distance between Kolkata and Sittwe is just 600 km," Ramesh said.

He said: "After the completion of the project in 2012, Mizoram would become a hub of international trade.

"Sittwe project will provide an alternative route between the land-locked northeast region and the rest of the world. Any kind of goods from northeast could reach southern India through the Bay of Bengal, via Sittwe," the minister said.
Source: IANS
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