Border relations between sweet and sour neighbours India and China are showing slight improvements with the BCIM – Bangladesh – China – India – Myanmar project finally getting off on the right foot. The New Silk road project which has an estimated trade potential of US$132 billion,has just 200 kms of road to be concretized before Kolkata in India will seamlessly be connected with Kunming in China.
The BCIM economic corridor is expected to add a major boost to India-China trade as India looks at developing her North-East region bordering China and Beijing looks for alternative routes to the strait of Malacca. Both governments hope that the BCIM economic corridor will be a starting point for stronger bilateral relations. An Indian consulate in Kunming and a Chinese consulate in Kolkata are already in place.
The 2,800km corridor will not only ease transportation links between Asia’s largest economies, it will also boost telecommunication and energy lines between the nations and for those in between – Bangladesh and Myanmar. Over the past several years, both China and India have made heavy investments in both the intermediary nations primarily to develop them as alternative energy routes.
Coming at a time when China is also keen on resolving the border issue with India, the BCIM holds huge potential as a region. The countries account for 40 percent of the worlds population and approximately 7.5 percent of her total global GDP. According to analysts, with China’s industrial prowess, Myanmar’s agricultural success and India and Bangladesh’s services sector boom, the BCIM economic corridor can be developed into a regional powerhouse.
While insurgencies exist and non-traditional threats remain, experts believe the cultural affinity, geographical proximity and the existence of a huge informal border trade will only help to improve commerce, life and regional affiliations.