Foreign Policy Watch: India-Myanmar

China-Myanmar New Passage


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: China-Myanmar New Passage

Mains level: Chinese encroachment in India's neighborhood

The shipments on a newly-launched railway line under the China-Myanmar New Passage from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China have started.

China-Myanmar New Passage

  • The passage provides China a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean, were delivered last week, state media reported on Tuesday.
  • The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link.
  • It connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar, and China, and is currently the most convenient land and sea channel linking the Indian Ocean with southwest China.
  • Goods from Singapore reached Yangon Port, arriving by ship through the Andaman Sea of the northeastern Indian Ocean, and were then transported by road to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China border in Yunnan province.
  • The new railway line that runs from the border town of Lincang to Chengdu, a key trade hub in western China, completes the corridor.

Why does India need to be watchful?

  • From the perspective of security, India’s border with Myanmar has historically presented serious security challenges.
  • Chinese troops had used the Myanmar route to threaten India’s North-eastern States prior to the 1962 war.
  • In the run-up to the India-China war of 1962, Chinese troops had commissioned local muleteers in Northern Myanmar to facilitate the movement of troops and war logistics to challenge India’s Northeast.

Way forward

  • The work on infrastructure projects in India’s Northeastern States needs to be expedited to ensure speedy mobilization of India’s own troops to face different contingencies.
  • Monitoring of developments including deployment of space assets to ensure that India is not caught unaware would be desirable.
  • Most importantly, India on its part needs to substantially step up its own game in Myanmar and proactively engage Myanmar in the realm of the infrastructure upgrade.

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