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China, India fast-track BCIM economic corridor project

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The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor is expected to be fast-tracked as both China and India agree on the economic transformative nature of this vital economic corridor.

Unlike in the past, when it was perceived to be dragging its feet due to concerns over security and cheap Chinese products flooding its markets, India is now showing enthusiasm over the project.

What is BCIM project?

  • The project will link Kolkata with Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province. It passes through Myanmar and Bangladesh. Mandalay and Dhaka are the other important cities it would be connecting.
  • The unique focus of this project is on linking provinces and States, in this case, Yunnan and West Bengal. This seems to have given a new impulse to speeding up the plan.
  • The main artery of the 2,800-km, K (Kolkata)-2-K (Kunming) corridor is nearly ready. A stretch of less than 200 km, from Kalewa to Monywa in Myanmar, needs to be upgraded as an all-weather road. While the segment between Silchar in Assam and Imphal in Manipur is being upgrading by India.
  • There are plans for two supplementary passages connecting to the central corridor. The north passage would connect Kunming with Myitkyina(capital of Kachin state in Myanmar) and from there extends to Guwahati in Assam, it would then enter northern Bangladesh, before joining the central corridor. The southern passage connects Myanmar’s port of Sittwe to Mizoram through the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project.

BCIM importance:

  • This corridor will provide the much needed access to sea for north-eastern States
  • One of the strategic factors for China, driving the corridor was reduction of reliance on the Straits of Malacca, militarily dominated by the U.S. This provides an alternate route for China to access Bay of Bengal and then the Indian Ocean.
  • The Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project, provides all the landlocked north-eastern States access to the sea through the Sittawe port. Compared with the land route, Sittwe provides these States access to Kolkata, just 539 km away.