Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation stated that strong steps are being taken to upgrade India’s ports and waterways. The Minister highlighted that the Sagar Mala Project envisages an investment of Rs. 16 lakh crore for maritime connectivity. The Ganga River from Varanasi to Haldia has been developed as a waterway and a further linkage is being created via the Brahmaputra River to India’s Northeast.
The Minister was speaking at the ASEAN India Connectivity Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in cooperation with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and ASEAN-India Centre at RIS in New Delhi today.
Mr Gadkari stressed that with the Trilateral Highway being constructed by India in Myanmar and Thailand, and the Kaladan Multi-modal Project in Myanmar, connectivity with the ASEAN region would receive a boost. The Minister pointed out that India and Myanmar are working very closely to upgrade infrastructure in the border areas.
According to Gen. (Dr.) V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, there is a strong case to improve maritime connectivity between India and ASEAN. Maritime connectivity will not only help improve bilateral trade but also connect the various islands in India and ASEAN and tap into the investment opportunities in these islands.
The Minister said that promoting connectivity with ASEAN is a priority for India. The two regions have long historical maritime linkages and the time is ripe to reconstruct some of those linkages.
The Minister highlighted the need to promote air connectivity between the ASEAN region and Tier II cities in India. In terms of road linkages, he stated that projects such as the Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multi-modal transit Transport Project are progressing at a satisfactory pace.
H.E. Mr. Phan Tam, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam stated that ASEAN countries are focused on the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity to promote free flow of goods and people in the region. He added that India is a major partner in many of these projects and ASEAN - India strategic relations are poised to touch a new high because of this.
Ms. Shobana Kamineni, President, CII, stated that connecting the ASEAN countries with India can yield numerous benefits. For example, larger markets can bring about economies of scale in production and enhance competitiveness. Integration of markets can facilitate the movement of production networks and attract more foreign direct investment along with the benefits of knowledge and technology transfer and opportunities to connect to regional and global supply chains.
December 11, 2017