India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway : Benefits & Challenges | UPSC Notes

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• The India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway (IMT Highway) is a 1,360 km (850 mi) long road that connects Moreh, India to Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar. It is being improved as part of India’s “Look East” programme.

 Imphal-Mandalay-Bangkok 1,813 km (1,127 mi) route, consisting of Imphal-Mandalay 584 km (363 mi) and Mandalay-Bangkok 1,397 km (868 mi), is a highway in good condition except for 101 km (63 mi) part of 120 km (75 mi) long Kalewa-Yagyi stretch being upgraded to 2-lane in each direction (total 4 lanes) highway by India.

• The road should make it easier to do business in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area and the rest of Southeast Asia.

• India has also suggested that the highway be made longer to reach Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The planned route from India to Vietnam is called the East-West Economic Corridor. It would be about 3,200 km (2,000 mi) long. In 2015, the route from Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam opened.

• Along the way, this highway will link to the river ports being built at Kalay (also called Kalaymyo) and Monywa on the Chindwin River.

• India and ASEAN want to connect this route to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. This will add an estimated US$70 billion to the annual GDP and create 20 million new jobs by 2025. India has offered a US$1 billion line of credit for the India-ASEAN connectivity projects (Dec. 2017).

• In December 2020, Bangladesh officially said that it wanted to join the highway project so that Dhaka could connect to more places. The current BBIN motor vehicle agreement makes it easier for goods to move between India and Bangladesh by reducing border checks and customs inspections. The highway is India’s second major international road project. The first was the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) project. The project also helps strengthen India’s place in the region as a strategic counterweight to the People’s Republic of China.The project’s technical executing body and project management consultant is the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

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INR 1,177 crore is the amount that is thought to be needed to finish building the IMT trilateral highway stretch between India and Myanmar.