India plans to open a trilateral highway from Calcutta over the Bay of Bengal to Ho Chi Minh City on the South China Sea. Dr Manmohan Singh & President Thein Sein have set a deadline of 2016 for the completion of the super highway linking Guwahati in Assam to Burma’s border with Thailand via Mandalay and the former capital Rangoon. This new 4 lane motorway is being constructed to allow traders & tourists to drive down from Assam into Burma, Thailand which puts forward a total journey of 4,500kms. In its future phases this highway is said to be extended till Cambodia & Vietnam. This initiative of “Mekong-India Express” has been taken forward after the increase in demand for logistics cross border through the “ASEAN- India Free Trade Agreement for intermodal transport service between Thailand & India. Adding to this, the Free Trade Agreement has enabled the Governments to phase out the tariffs on 80% of commodities.
This has added to the development towards the “Mekong-India Corridor” which include the booming Asian Economies of India & China which is the second largest growing trade market. The international sanctions against the former military regime in Burma have affected the economic boost in trade transactions with China. According to the present set policies under this agreement, state that the Indian Companies will have complete trading access to the Burmese market after certain agreements are signed with the Government. It is believed that India had earlier build the Tamu-Kalewa Friendship Road along with Myanmar which is going to be expanded to link Yargyi which will provide further link roads to Moreh in India & Mae Sot in Thailand. A major benefit of this will be received by Chennai, where many automobile companies have set up their manufacturing plants to facilitate easier transportation of spares. Therefore, this Express road would enable easy transportation and trade for these parts which might see a decrease in cost in the future due to the rise in import of commodities.
While this agreement was being signed, further developments were initiated by the governments of India & Burma: To give allowance for United Bank of India to open a branch in Yangon, $500million line of credit for Myanmar & an air service agreement for airlines. Through this agreement the airlines of both the countries India & Myanmar enjoy the “Fifth Freedom Rights” where the Airlines of both the countries can use airports with respective airports of the countries for stopovers after prior permission from the Airport Authorities of that state. In order to supervise these developments and completing work in proposed time limits, there will be a group set up of experts to look into the technical, commercial & social feasibility of cross-border rail links & a well established shipping link between 2 countries. These developments are to further ensure stronger relations between both the nations & develop a sustainable model for business in the near future.
Over the years transportation of commodities from Thailand to Chennai has been through ships after a trans-shipment at Singapore which gradually increases the cost & time. This new service by Nippon Express has decided to transport goods through the SS7000 Asian Nippon Truck between Bangkok, Thailand and Port Kelang, Malaysia and by its NVO service between Port Kelang, Malaysia and Chennai, India.
In order to facilitate easy cash transactions the Reserve Bank Of India & the Central Bank Of India have agreed to allow payments in local currencies over these business transactions, provided few agreement conditions are met and an appropriate module of “Currency Arrangement” is provided to business entities who can present it to the concerned bank while making transactions approved by the Central Bank of the country. This boost of trade and business has also been aimed to compete with regional China, who is the world’s fastest growing super power.