[Assam] India Begins to Rebuild World War II Road - VOA News

Ram Sarangapani assamrs at gmail.com
Tue May 8 17:58:53 PDT 2007


  Wow! out of 1700 Kms, India needs to build only 61 Kms.

"Assam state officials say a four-lane highway will be ready within six
months". That is just fantastic
The only thing that will be left is the Burmese portion of the road. If
trade picks up, that too should rapidly take place.

________________________________________

India Begins to Rebuild World War II Road
 By Anjana Pasricha
New Delhi
*07 May 2007*
Pasricha report - Download
284k<http://www.voanews.com/mediaassets/english/2007_05/Audio/rm/pasricha_india_china_road_7may07.rm>
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audio clip]
Listen to Pasricha report [image: audio clip]
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*  [image: Indian school children hold placards as they march to demand the
re-opening of the historic 'Stilwell Road,' 15 Sep 2006] Indian school
children hold placards as they march to demand the re-opening of the
historic 'Stilwell Road,' 15 Sep 2006India has started rebuilding a historic
60-year-old road linking its remote northeast region to southwest China. As
Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the route eventually could help
boost trade among India, China and Southeast Asian countries.*

The Stilwell Road is a winding 1700 kilometer route hacked out of jungles
during the World War II to link India's northeastern state of Assam to
China's Yunnan province via Burma.

It was built with the help of American military engineers to allow the
Allied Army to move troops and supplies to China, then reeling under
Japanese occupation. Soon after the war ended, the road fell into disuse.

The route could now get a second lease of life, this time for trade and
transport between the world's two fastest growing economies.

Indian officials in northeastern Assam say India has started rebuilding its
side of the road, a 61-kilometer stretch to Burma.

Assam state officials say a four-lane highway will be ready within six
months. They say talks are on between the three countries to speed up
opening of the road for cross-border trade.

The momentum to open new border routes between India and China began a few
years ago as political and trade ties warmed steadily. Last year, the two
countries opened their first land trade route through a Himalayan pass known
as Nathu La (between the Indian state of Sikkim and Tibet).

An expert on Indian-Chinese affairs at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru
University, Alka Acharya, says there is a broad push to increase trade and
other links between the two countries.

"We are thinking in terms of two other passes which would be opened up for
trade, and Stilwell has a history, and it is clearly part of the broader
connectivity which is happening at a very rapid pace," she said. "This would
open up a huge area for cross border connectivity."

China has already completed work on its side of the road. Burma is getting
financial help from Beijing to rebuild its stretch.

In India, the push to open the Stilwell Road is coming from the northeast -
a landlocked, underdeveloped area far removed from India's economic hubs in
the north and the west. Officials in Assam hope the road will eventually
make the region a gateway to China and Southeast Asia, and boost its
economy.

Trade between India and China is increasing at a rapid pace, China is now
India's second largest trading partner. India also wants to increase
economic links with Southeast Asian countries.
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