“India’s Maritime Infrastructure Development and Hinterland Connectivity: Imperatives for India’s Act East Policy” in Adluri Subramanyam Raju (Ed.), Maritime Infrastructure in India: Challenges and Prospects, Studera Press, 2018.
M. Mayilvaganan, Associate Professor, ISSSP, National Institute of Advanced Studies
For a country like India with the vast coastal line, maritime transportation system and better connectivity with the all regions is a vital for national progress. Northeast India that serves as the bridge between India and South East Asia is one of the most backward regions of the country. Growth of trade, business and industry is retarded by its location, ethnic unrest and poor connectivity. Mainland India’s connectivity to the region is limited and thus, a policy priority to link it through multimodal logistics is a viable option. New Delhi’s strategy is to develop alternative multimodal transportation from its East Coast ports to Northeast India through Myanmar by using the latter’s inland waterway and road, will greatly benefit the region as it will reduce its dependency on the usage of roads via Siliguri Corridor, or Chicken’s Neck. Besides, the better connectivity and infrastructure will enhance access to resources which could potentially contribute to GDP. In a nutshell, it would not only provide a lifeline to the northeast hinterland by the mitigating geographical disadvantage of, but would undeniably aid India’s Act East Policy by effectively reintegrating the region with Southeast Asia.