India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed an agreement for upgradation of Yagyi – Kalewa section of highway in Myanmar to two lanes with an earthen shoulder. This project is part of India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway and will be NHAI’s first international project.

The project aims to provide seamless vehicular movement for enhancing trade, business, health, education and tourism between Indian, Myanmar and Thailand. It is being funded by Ministry of External Affairs, India and will be executed on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode at an of Rs.1177 crores

– The project will have 3 new major bridges and 2 new minor bridges. Its existing 4 major bridges and 9 minor bridges will be repaired and strengthened and 6 existing minor bridges will be reconstructed. The Yagyi – Kalewa stretch will have 6 truck lay byes, 20 bus bays and passenger shelters and 1 rest area. The project will be executed and completed in three years.

About IMT Highway:

The 1,000 km India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway will run from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar. The highway will facilitate easy movement of goods and people among the three countries.

Once completed, greater flows of trade and investment will take place along the route, stimulating the movement of goods and people, creating jobs, promoting tourism as well as raising the livelihoods of the peoples in the region.

Why is this highway crucial for India?

First, it will help improve connectivity between India’s remote Northeastern part and Southeast Asia. For long, the lack of physical connectivity with Southeast Asia has been an Achilles’ heel in India’s “Act-East Policy.” The trilateral highway will improve India’s connectivity with Myanmar and Thailand, and in the future, there are plans to connect it with pre-existing roads and take it all the way to Vietnam.

Secondly, with the construction of this road, which started as the India-Myanmar friendship road way back in 2001, the recent non-attendance by India at China’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing seems to have injected a new measure of earnestness among Indian policy planners when it comes to executing such road projects.

Thirdly, Northeast India has been lagging behind other parts of the country when it comes to infrastructure. When completed, the IMT highway will also give easy access to the Northeastern states to the sea (via Myanmar).

About NHAI:

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the Government of India, responsible for management of a network of over 70,000 km of National Highways in India. It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The NHAI was created through the promulgation of the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. In February 1995, the Authority was formally made an autonomous body.

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