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India, Thailand hopeful of trilateral highway by 2016

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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Bangkok invited Indian investment in various sectors

An ambitious project to develop a 3,200-km highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand was an important item on the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit here.

On Thursday, Dr. Singh and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra expressed the hope that the highway would be ready by 2016.

India has already given Myanmar $500 million in loan, a part of which will be used to fund the project.

A joint statement issued at the end of the talks between the Prime Ministers said India welcomed Thailand’s proposal to host the next India–Myanmar–Thailand Joint Task Force Meeting on the Trilateral Highway Project, and the second meeting of the Thailand-India Joint Working Group on Connectivity and Infrastructure in June-July 2013.

It said Thailand proposed to host the third India-Myanmar-Thailand Ministerial Meeting on Transport Linkages to address issues of infrastructure so as to maximise the use of the highway for strengthening regional growth and integration.

At the delegation-level talks, Thailand informed India of the progress Thailand and Myanmar had made in the development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone in southern Myanmar. Once operational, the project would further enhance connectivity and open enormous business opportunities for the region.

Thailand invited Indian businesses to invest in the Dawei Special Economic Zone, especially in steel, manufacturing, power, petrochemicals and services.

The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to carry through the talks for a Thailand-India Free Trade Agreement.


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