In order to boost border trade between Northeast India and the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, the Indian government is setting up nine border haats or markets along the border with Myanmar, an official said on Wednesday.
Addressing the inauguration of the Eighth Delhi Dialogue, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), also said that negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) mega trade agreement are going on satisfactorily. He said that with the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership deal, between 12 nations, becoming a reality, it is essential to conclude the RCEP soon.
In his keynote address, Wadhwa said that under an MoU on border haats along the India-Myanmar border, inked in 2012, it has been agreed to set up nine border haats in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
“We have two Land Customs Stations at Tamu-Moreh in Manipur and Rhi-Zowkhathar in Mizoram, and the Land Customs Station at Moreh (Manipur) is being upgraded into an Integrated Check Post,” said Wadhwa at the Delhi Dialogue, an annual track 1.5 event to discuss bilateral issues between India and the ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations).
The Plan of Action envisages a number of steps in the areas of trade and investment, finance, transport, food, agriculture, forestry, information and communication technology, tourism, science, technology and innovation, and mining and natural resources management, he added.
On the connectivity projects being undertaken, the official said the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multi-modal Project are progressing. “We are also at the final stages of a Motor Vehicles Agreement between India, Myanmar and Thailand which will address soft connectivity issues,” he pointed out.
The Trilateral Highway, a 3,200 km highway, would link Moreh via Mandalay city (Myanmar) to Mae Sot in Thailand, when it is ready by 2018.