Anurag Bhushan, Joint Secretary (ASEAN-ML), Ministry of External Affairs, on Thursday said the Centre is looking to complete the work on the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway in the next couple of years. He added that the government is looking at the possibility of extending it to other countries also.

The 1,360 km long trilateral highway will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar and is expected to boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area.

“We have invested in the last few years in getting the trilateral highway between India's North-East part through Myanmar to Thailand. Even though the topography is challenging and conditions are unprecedented, the progress has been good. We are looking at completion of the project in the next couple of years or so,” he said at a seminar on the Indo-ASEAN Partnership, organised jointly by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the External Affairs Ministry, here today.

According to Bhushan, the trilateral highway will only become ‘meaningful’ once we finalise the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement as it will help in seamless movement of passenger, personal and cargo vehicles along roads linking the three countries. “The Motor Vehicle Agreement is being looked at very positively,” he said.

Negotiating RCEP

On the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Bhushan said, it would be “balanced, equitable and beneficial” to participating countries.

The RCEP is a free-trade agreement between the 10-member ASEAN countries and six Asia-Pacific states which have Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the regional bloc. These countries are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.