India moves to build access to Myanmar port

March 27th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) In a bid to allow landlocked northeastern states access to a seaport in Myanmar, the Indian cabinet Thursday approved a road and waterway project in that country. The multi-modal transport project includes upgrading the Sittwe port and Kaladan waterway and construction of a road from Setpyitpyin (Kaletwa) to the India-Myanmar border at a cost of Rs.5.3 billion, according to a government statement.

India will also build a 117-km-long road from the Indo-Myanmar border to National Highway 54.

The project to be executed by Inland Waterways Authority of India is to be completed within five years of its start.

The cabinet also approved the signing of an agreement with Myanmar for the purpose. Now a formal agreement can be signed during the visit of top ruling military junta leader General Maung Aye here next week. Aye arrives April 4 on a three-day visit to India.

In January, Myanmar Foreign Minister U. Nyan Win had visited India, a couple of months after a crackdown on pro-democracy street protests that led to an international uproar.

India was then criticised for not taking a stronger stand against the military junta. But Indian officials had insisted that dialogue and not sanctions was the only way to arrive at a solution.

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