North- for India. Myanmar also provides China a route

North- East India is the only connecting
point to link with ASSEAN and East Asian countries. But, till now, North- East India
is not that much developed what was expected. Border areas in North-Eastern part
of India have their own problems and peculiarities. Such areas are in general
less accessible with rest part of India, making provision of basic facilities more
difficult and costly. Such areas are often more vulnerable to illegal infiltration
of population, which adds pressure on their economic and environmental issues.
Governments of the states with international border are required to bear
heavier burden for not only providing basic facilities for border management but
also for the broader national goal of securing the border.

India-Myanmar
border:

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Myanmar is
important country to India not only for historical, ethnic and cultural ties,
but also for great strategic importance as it is a gateway to South East Asia
and holds huge economic potential for India. Myanmar also provides China a
route to the second coastline into the Arabian Sea form Kunming through the
Sittwe port. The border as well as the Arakan coast can become
vulnerable for India due to increasing Chinese economic ties with Myanmar.

India
shares a 1643 kilometre long border with Myanmar, of which 171 kilometres is
not demarcated. The northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur
and Mizoram share the border Myanmar.  Cross-country
movement is extremely difficult and is restricted to existing tracks only.

Till now there is only one Land Custom
Station (LCS) in India-Myanmar border, i.e. Moreh (which is in Manipur). The
adjacent border point is Tamu (which is in Myanmar). Trade is happening through
this LCS only. Instead of this LCS, there are another two LCS also are there in
between India – Myanmar, i.e. Nampong (Pangsau Pass) (which is in Arunachal
Pradesh) and Avangkhu (which is in Nagaland). But, Nampong (Pangsau Pass) is
not functional. And, for Avangkhu, India and Myanmar are bi-laterally agreed to
open new Land Custom Station in the Indo-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee meeting
in October, 2008. Not yet notified by Govt. of India under Section 7 of the
Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962)1.

Problems:

I have already mentioned that there are only
one route/LCS which is functional, i.e. Moreh (on the India side) and Tamu (on
the Myanmar Side). But, they are facing several problems, such as,

Ø   
This border is one of the most volatile
borders in India that faces frequent shut down due to insurgency on the Indian
side.

Ø   
Both LCS, Moreh and Tamu face similar kind of
problems with Intermittent Supply of electricity and Internet facilities.

Ø   
Mobile or digital connectivity is also poor
at the Moreh – Tamu border.

Ø   
Owing to absence of infrastructural problems,
such as, scanners, security force personnel check the consignments manually
which often results in damage of goods.

Initiative:

Some of the major initiatives are taken by
the India and Myanmar government, which may lead to boost the connectivity with
Eastern Asia with India. Some of the major initiatives are mentioned below:

Road Connectivity:

Ø   
Tri-countries, i.e. India, Thailand and
Myanmar, are working on a 1400 kilometre long highway that will link India with
Southeast Asia by land route for the first time, which will be giving a boost
to trade and cultural exchanges between three countries. It will not only
effect the trade and cultural exchange in these three countries but trade will
enhance and smoothly will reach to East and South-east Asian countries through
land route. The planned highway starts in the eastern region of India from
Moreh to Myanmar’s Tamu city.

Ø   
Instead of tri-nation highway, some negotiations
are currently underway to conclude a tri-nation motor vehicle agreement (MVA)
for the use of the 1400 km road. This road will help in transportation of freights
and further development of SMEs in North East India, which is also exemplifies
of India’s “Act East” policy.

Waterways:

Ø   
Myanmar’s Dawei deep-sea port and industrial
estate project near the Thai border is also expected to help further integrate
eastern India with South East Asian countries through waterways. The planned
port can be linked up with India’s Chennai port as well as Thailand’s Laem
Chabang Port on the other side of the ocean.

Ø   
India is also preparing to negotiate a
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which includes the
10-country grouping of ASSEAN.

BBIN MVA
initiative:

One of the major initiatives has taken by
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India government, i.e.  motor vehicle agreement (MVA) in between
Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-region. But, Bhutan has not agreed the
motor vehicle agreement (MVA) to implement due to several reasons. Bangladesh,
India and Nepal will implement this agreement as early as possible, without
Bhutan. It will develop the connectivity issues in this sub-region.

1 http://www.mdoner.gov.in/node/1474