- Recently, at the virtual ASEAN(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit on Future of India-ASEAN Connectivity Partnerships, the Indian government underlined the importance of cross-border connectivity between India and Southeast Asian nations.
- ASEAN brings together ten Southeast Asian states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – into one organisation.
- India currently is working with ASEAN on multiple connectivity projects, through land, water, and air.
- Giving substance to ASEAN-India relations through connectivity will gradually change the geopolitical landscape of this region.
- In this context, India has now been actively developing infrastructure in Northeastern India.
- Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor is part of this.
- These connectivity projects will not only curb existing insurgencies, but also help India’s northeastern states to develop their economic potential and integrate with mainland India.
- Further, India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is central to India’s growing engagement with her eastern neighbours.
- It will enable small and medium-sized enterprises in the border areas to explore new business opportunities.
Mekong-India Economic Corridor (MIEC):
- Involves the integration of four Mekong countries – Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia – along with India, connecting Ho Chi Minh City, Dawei, Bangkok, and Phnom Penh with Chennai.
- The corridor will provide opportunities for the participant countries to develop infrastructure, enhance their economic base with the region, and especially reduce the transit distance between India and ASEAN countries.
- The Trilateral Highway can be extended to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. This will enable greater connectivity and economic integration of India’s northeast with its eastern neighbours.
- As such beyond movement of goods and physical connectivity, it is also important for two regions to explore ways to enhance digital connectivity.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT