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India and Burma close to signing Mazoram waterway pact

India and Burma close to signing Mazoram waterway pact

Mumbai: The foreign minister of Burma's visit to New Delhi this week is likely to see the long awaited signing of a $100m project on the river Kaladan that will provide a transit route to India's north-eastern states.
The Kaladan project includes the building of waterways and roads.
It will also result in the development of Sitwe port, linking Burma to Mizoram state (pictured shaded red) through the Kaladan river.
India has long tried to get a transit route to its north-eastern states but its plans have always been thwarted by the Bangladeshi government, which has refused to give official backing to the idea.
After that initiative was shelved, India then lobbied the military junta in Rangoon to support its ambitious plan.
At present India spends huge sums of money to transport goods to its cut off north-eastern states. The two largest countries in Asia, India and China, have both been wooing Burma for its key sea access, each nation refusing to ostracise the junta following last September's brutal crackdown. China is keen to build an oil pipeline from the Burmese coast up to Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan province. [03/01/08]

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