India to develop regional connectivity projects worth $5 billion in South Asia

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Secretary, Economic Affairs, Shaktikanta Das

Two road corridor projects being developed with ADB support

India is planning to develop regional connectivity projects worth $5 billion in South Asia, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Tuesday.

“We are also planning to establish Integrated Customs Ports (ICPs) and improved Land Customs Stations (LCS) at key border points with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to ease the movement of goods and people within the sub-region,” he said at the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) 2025 workshop. The South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

India is also developing two priority road corridor projects with the support of the ADB, Das said.

‘Chicken neck’

While the first road corridor will connect India with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan through the “chicken neck” area of North Bengal, the second road corridor will establish India-Myanmar connectivity in Manipur.

“India is also developing the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC), with ADB as our lead partner,” Das said, adding that this will also help the government’s “Look East” policy.

He also praised efforts for trade facilitation and said that South Asia is among the least integrated regions in the world.

“Problems in trade facilitation, non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and infrastructure deficit hindered intra-regional trade in South Asia,” he said, noting that SASEC countries have a lower ranking in trade facilitation on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index.

Four SASEC countries have long coastline that could be developed to its full potential to integrate this sub-region with global production centres, he said.

Published on May 10, 2016

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