New Delhi: An ambitious India-Myanmar joint project aimed at enhancing connectivity and infrastructure is under threat from an insurgent group based in Myanmar.
The development programme — Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport (KMTT) project — which connects Sittwe Port in Myanmar to Kolkata in India, is under threat from insurgent group Arakan Army, suspected to be backed by China.
The Ministry of Home Affairs recently stated that the project has been delayed due to the “adverse security situation”.
The project is expected to reduce the distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1,328 km.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has expressed displeasure on the slow progress of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport (KMTT) project that is being piloted and funded by the Ministry of External Affairs.
A report of the panel tabled in parliament on December 21 stated that the progress of road construction is not at all satisfactory.
The Ministry of Home Affairs observed that the security situation in the region and lack of access from the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram are the main reasons for the delay.
“The adverse security situation at the project site has further deteriorated in the recent past. Access to the project site from the Indian side has been permitted by the Government of Myanmar after much effort and construction activities are currently underway from this end. The project is being closely monitored,” the ministry stated.
It also stated that the “acute financial crisis” faced by the construction companies has also resulted in delays.
Earlier, the Intelligence Bureau had alerted the government that supply of weapons from China is reaching insurgent group Arakan Army and they are posing a threat to the Kaladan project setting up camps bordering the southern tip of Mizoram in India.
Last year in February, Indian and Myanmar forces carried out operations to push back the Arakan Army cadres that had come extremely close to the border near the Mizoram targeting infrastructure project.
The bureau has issued a fresh input recently that the Arakan Army was again trying to target the Kaladan project.
The original waterways component of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) has been completed in May 2017.
The work for construction of road in the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) was to take three years to complete. However, the current physical progress for the construction of the road is behind schedule.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at [email protected])