Route likely to cross Kohima in Nagaland

India - Myanmar - Thailand trilateral highway
India – Myanmar – Thailand trilateral highway (Representative image)

The Kolkata Bangkok Highway, also known as the Trilateral Highway, spans approximately 2800 kilometers and aims to link India with countries in Southeast Asia by land, fostering enhanced trade, business, and socio-cultural ties among the three nations.

The highway will connect Bangkok, Thailand, to Kolkata, India, via Myanmar, starting from Bangkok and terminating in Kolkata. In India, the highway will likely link Siliguri and Kolkata in West Bengal, Srirampur and Guwahati in Assam, Kohima in Nagaland, and Moreh in Manipur.

During a business conclave organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in June 2023, Thailand’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vijayvat Isarabhakdi, indicated that the stretch of the Kolkata Bangkok Highway in Thailand is ‘almost complete.’ Simultaneously, Myanmar’s Commerce Minister, Aung Naing Oo, stated that completing the Trilateral Highway stretch in Myanmar would require another two or three years.

According to the Thai minister, the project’s progress depends significantly on Myanmar and the Indian portion, with the total stretch of the highway potentially exceeding 2,500 kilometers. The Myanmar commerce minister informed TOI that work on the trilateral highway has resumed, estimating completion within two to three years.

In July 2023, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that ‘around 70% of the construction work on the ambitious India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway has been completed.’ However, Gadkari did not provide details on the timeline for the project’s completion and operationalization.

The project’s initiation was part of India’s Look East Policy, approved in 2002 during the leadership of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Despite being one of India’s most ambitious highway projects, delays have hindered progress, with the government initially aiming to make the highway operational by December 2019.

The benefits of the Kolkata Bangkok Highway are expected to bolster trade between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), facilitating improved connectivity via the East-West Corridor – Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, extending to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Once the expressway is completed, traveling to Bangkok by vehicle is expected to become easier. Additionally, new real estate projects are anticipated to emerge, with property prices likely to increase, particularly in areas near the highway.

In 2017, India’s NITI Aayog decided to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to finance the entire project, jointly owned by all three participating countries.

According to real estate website, the segment in Myanmar, spanning from Tamu to Kalewa, is estimated to require approximately USD 27.28 million for completion. The Indian Government has allocated a significant sum of USD 256 million for the enhancement of the highway from Moreh to Mae Sot in Thailand covering a distance of approximately 1,360 kilometers.

Additionally, the Government of India has earmarked around USD 150 million for the maintenance of the road between the Kalewa and Yagyi sections in Myanmar.

The Kingdom of Thailand has also contributed to the project, investing approximately USD 51 million to widen the highway from Ein Du to Thaton in Myanmar.

MTNews Desk

2 thoughts on “Approved in 2002, Kolkata-Bangkok Highway estimated to open by 2027?”
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