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  • #16
    Road trip to Thailand via Myanmar on the cards
    Moushumi Das Gupta
    Apr 05, 2015

    A road trip to Thailand or Myanmar via Northeast India may soon become a reality if a proposed motor vehicle (MV) agreement that India plans to sign with the two countries comes through.

    In line with the Narendra Modi government’s thrust to increase cooperation in the South Asian region, the road transport ministry is readying the framework of the proposed multilateral MV agreement that would open the door for seamless transit of passenger and cargo vehicles between the three countries.

    On April 18, the transport secretaries of India, Thailand and Myanmar will meet in Chennai to decide the contours of the agreement.

    “Once the framework is agreed upon, it would be just a matter of time before a formal agreement is signed. It would give a big boost to trade and economy in the region” said a government official.

    The proposed MV agreement is similar to the agreement that India plans to sign with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal in June.

    “The framework for the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India) corridor has already been finalised. Once the agreement with Myanmar and Thailand is signed it will be integrated with the BBIN corridor,” said an official.

    Currently India only has a bilateral motor vehicle agreement with Nepal and Bangladesh but a multilateral pact would go a long way in strengthening trade and tourism in the region.

    India is also set to launch a weekly cross border bus service between Imphal in Manipur and Mandalay in central Myanmar.


    • #17
      New Asian highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand put into service
      Sep 2, 2015

      Yangon: The Myawaddy-Thinggan Nyenaung-Kawkareik section of the Asian highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand has been put into service, the media reported.

      Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Chairman of the Kayin National Union General Saw Mutu Sae Po attended an inaugural ceremony of the service on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

      With the 25.6-km-long section becoming operational, travel time between Thinggan Nyenaung and Kawkareik will be reduced from three hours to 45 minutes.

      The construction of the Asian highway section started in 2012 with the assistance of Thailand.

      The Asian highway runs from Moreh in India to Thailand's Maesot via Myanmar's Tamu, Mandalay and Myawaddy.

      The section, also part of the East-West economic corridor of the Greater Mekong Subregion, will not only enhance trade between Myanmar and Thailand, but also contribute to better links among people in the region.

      A cornerstone laying ceremony was also held at Myawaddy on Sunday for the building of Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Bridge No.2 to link Thailand's Maesot with Myanmar's Myawaddy.


      • #18
        India to Thailand, Through Myanmar, on the Royal Enfield Bullet
        Jay Kannaiyan
        Today, 39 minutes ago

        Crossing over a hundred wooden bridges in remote western Myanmar. How good is your balance?
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        An Indian Army officer took a quick look at our stamped papers and motioned for the gate to be lifted. Noel, my Aussie riding buddy, and I had left New Delhi a few days earlier on Asian Highway 1, battling northern India’s freezing winter conditions on a pair of kick-start Royal Enfield Bullet Machismo 500s.

        Many travellers have made the journey to the border at Moreh, only to be turned away. If the Indian border officials didn’t think you’d be allowed into Myanmar, they wouldn’t allow you to exit. But things are different now. After months of anxious planning and wondering whether to attempt this trip, we were almost there.

        Until a few years ago, crossing Myanmar overland with your own vehicle was prohibited. It took some enterprising individuals to sort out the paperwork and convince their governments to open the border and allow travellers to enter.

        Riding through the jungles of western Myanmar where the tar road hasn’t reached yet.
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        Myanmar is now, technically, a democracy. But it remains military-dominated and paranoid about state security. What do secretive states fear most? Independent travellers roaming the country, interacting with locals and reporting to the outside world. As a compromise, over landers are now allowed to cross the country to Thailand with one major caveat – they have to be escorted by a government officer and a tour guide, along with a fixed itinerary following a pre-planned route. This isn’t my preferred style, but the opportunity to be one of the first to blaze the trail across this ‘virgin’ country was too tempting.

        Crossing the single-lane, iron Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge at Moreh was a big moment – a continuation of my round-the-world journey without needing to take a flight.

        The enigmatic plains of Bagan with pagodas from a thousand years still standing.
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        The western part of Myanmar is quite remote compared to the south and the east. With no tar roads until a few years ago, there were many tales of notorious mud jungle roads that mired vehicles. But the Indian government, in its bid to open trade with Myanmar and counter China’s influence, surfaced a 160 km-long road from the border to Kalay.

        However, any chances of making quick time were ruined by more than a hundred narrow wooden and iron bridges. Some were well-maintained, but others resembled those I’d traversed deep in the Amazon with missing planks and exposed nails.

        We made it to Kalay in a day, then set off for Mandalay. The tar surface disappeared within a few kilometres, revealing baseball-sized rocks jutting from the hard-packed mud.

        Successfully entering Thailand at Mae Sot after crossing the length of Myanmar.
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        Our Bullets bounced about and just like in the Amazon, when trucks inevitably came from the opposite direction, the road’s fine clay dust enveloped us, drowning our senses for several seconds and leaving a powdery residue everywhere. But in this primitive landscape, riding through virgin jungles, we were in adventure riding paradise.

        Down the Irrawaddy River lay Bagan, Myanmar’s tourist Mecca and a place to marvel at the imperial legacy from the Eleventh Century. Thousands of pagodas dot this plain, many covered in gold leaf. Its grandeur is intense, emotional and deeply personal. As we caught the sunset that evening from atop one of the largest pagodas, spontaneous applause broke from the crowd when the last ray disappeared beyond the horizon.

        On the shady, tree-lined Road to Mandalay.

        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        The next day we headed east and the road twisted tightly up and over the Shan Hills. Bullets are low on horsepower, but their balanced chassis makes for nimble cornering. Going uphill, sliding our butts off the seats, and leaning into corners is a movement every biker learns to love, even if the Bullet wasn’t designed to be ridden like a sport bike.

        Back over the Shan Hills and we entered Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital built 10 years ago. Like most planned capitals, this one feels sterile, filled with wide, multi-lane concrete roads almost entirely devoid of traffic. We were left stunned by a 20-lane road in front of the parliament building. Ten lanes each side, with no cars. A sad demonstration of showmanship – no doubt a venue for military parades intended to signal the government’s disdain for Western sanctions – instead it remains a monolith of Myanmar’s squandered fortunes.

        Great to see the Indian Army contributing to Myanmar’s highway paving.
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        Bikes are banned from Nay Pyi Taw’s modern four-lane concrete highway to Yangon and they’re not even allowed into the city, so we had to park them at the city’s northern edge from where we caught a van and made it just in time to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda.

        Over 325 feet tall, covered in gold leaf, with endless candles lit by chanting devotees around its base, the pagoda possesses an immense spirituality. We said a customary prayer, walked around the base and then headed to 19th Street in Old Town for a night of barbeque meats and cold beer.

        The 20-lane highway in front of the Myanmar parliament, empty.
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        After fetching our bikes the following morning, it was a leisurely ride east to Kyaiktiyo. Here we took the hour-long steep uphill climb in the back of a truck to Golden Rock – a massive boulder impossibly balanced on the edge of a cliff, covered in gold. When the sun came out from behind the clouds and lit up the rock in all its golden radiance, it was almost enough to make me a believer.

        On the last day, we crossed the Dawna Range to reach the Thai border. And, just like in the far west where the road is yet to be paved, Noel and I had one last hairy ride. From Hpa’an, the road east is laden with trucks and tourist buses. This deteriorated road gave us a bone-rattling ride, which worsened in the mountains, becoming a gnarly off-road track filled with giant potholes. We charged up along the sides of minibuses, tankers and trucks – not lingering on the cliff edges longer than necessary.

        Long boats on Inle lake where the locals have created a thriving economy whilst living on the lake.
        (Photo: Jay Kannaiyan)

        This thrilling ride made for a fitting end to the journey through this adventure rider’s paradise. We reached the Thai border at Mae Sot and after bidding farewell to our escorts whom we’d befriended over the past ten days, we exited Myanmar.

        Noel and I high-fived as we realized we were among the first riders to cross this wonderful country from India to Thailand – and on Royal Enfields!

        What a stunning country to experience on a bike. If you would like to do this, get in touch as I’m organising another ride across in a few months.


        • #19
          Road Agreement With Myanmar, Thailand Soon: Gadkari
          02nd December 2015

          KOLKATA: Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the central government was working towards inking an agreement with Myanmar and Thailand for seamless flow of traffic across the region.

          Addressing participants in a car rally, held to promote the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) agreement on uninterrupted cargo movement in the region, Gadkari said the central government is investing Rs.1 lakh crore in the northeastern region for road projects.

          "Going forward, we would want to have roads from northeast to Burma (Myanmar) and then Thailand. We are trying to settle in an agreement. The routes will help tourism and trade will flourish," he said at the concluding ceremony of the BBIN Friendship Motor Rally here.

          The rally covered about 4,500 km following the route of road networks laid out during the BBIN-Motor Vehicle Agreement signed between the four nations at Thimpu in Bhutan in June.

          Stressing the importance of road network, Gadkari said the central government was keen to develop the infrastructure in the northeast.
          "We have decided to invest Rs.1 lakh crore in northeast for road projects. We are also very happy to announce that road construction worth Rs.16,000 crore has already started. I hope the northeast will benefit a lot from this," he said.

          The minister said the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service that was flagged off in June has strengthened tourism and the mutual ties.
          "We have also made an agreement with Bangladesh over using the Brahmaputra, which will also help in business and economy. We also hope in future that we will have water-passenger transport for travelling from India to Bangladesh," he said.

          "We will not only build bridges, but bridge hearts as well," added the minister.


          • #20
            Indian caravan arrives at Mae Sot, Tak
            Tanakorn Sangiam

            TAK, 4 June 2016 (NNT) – Tourists from India have arrived at Mae Sot District as part of the Thailand-Myanmar-India caravan route to promote tourism among the three countries.

            Tak Tourism Authority of Thailand Director Tamolwan Rueangkajorn and the delegates from India’s Ministry of Tourism and GMS Rally have presided over the dispatching ceremony for an Indian caravan visiting Mae Sod District at Centara Mae Sot Hill Resort, Tak.

            The GMS Rally caravan visiting Mae Sod comprised of 32 tourists who were traveling on 12 cars along India, Myanmar, and Thailand for cultural exchange and to study the region's trade and investment.

            The caravan will also help promote tourism activities in India, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as strengthen the relations of the three countries.



            • #21
              Chinese film wins Thai road link upgrade tender
              10 Jul 2016

              A flatbed truck travels down a road on the outskirts of Kawkareik town in 2014.
              (Jared Downing / Frontier)

              A MULTIMILLION dollar road upgrade in Kayin State was the first project to be awarded to a Chinese company since the change of government in Myanmar, the online edition of the China Daily reported on July 8.

              The state-run newspaper quoted China Road and Bridge Co Ltd chairman Mr Wen Gang as saying the company had tendered successfully to upgrade a 65-kilometre section of highway between Eindu and Kawkareik, on the main road link between Myanmar and Thailand.

              The road forms part of the Asian highway network, as well as the 1,450km East-West Economic Corridor linking Mawlamyine and the Vietnamese port of Da Nang that is receiving financial support from the Asian Development Bank.

              China Daily quoted a construction engineer as estimating the cost of building 65km of four-lane road in Myanmar at between US$600 million and $700 million.

              As well as being the first tender awarded to a Chinese company since the National League for Democracy took power at the end of March it was also the first project awarded to CRBC for an ADB-funded project in Myanmar for many years, China Daily said.

              It quoted Wen as saying that as well as improving connectivity between Myanmar and Thailand, the road would contribute towards economic development in eastern Myanmar.

              The ADB said last November it would provide a loan of $100 million to upgrade 65km of road in Myanmar regarded as the “missing link” of the East-West Economic Corridor, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

              The East-West corridor is one of a series of economic cooperation projects involving the Greater Mekong Subregion, that comprises Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and China’s Yunnan Province. The ADB was a driving force behind the creation of the GMS in 1992.

              A 26km section of the road upgraded with assistance from Thailand was opened last August at a ceremony in the border town of Myawaddy attended by officials from the Myanmar and Thai governments and the Karen National Union.



              • #22
                Convoy leaves Delhi in rally to promote trilateral highway
                14 Nov 2016

                A convoy of 20 vehicles left New Delhi for Bangkok via Yangon on Sunday on a rally to highlight the potential of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, media reports said.

                The inaugural friendship rally between the Indian and Thai capitals, over about 5,722 kilometres, is due to finish in Bangkok on December 2.

                The convoy of Indian-made vehicles, carrying about 80 participants from the three countries, will enter Myanmar at Tamu and travel to Yangon via Bagan.

                The rally’s route from New Delhi to the border with Myanmar will take it through Bodhgaya, one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage destinations where the Buddha first attained Enlightenment.

                The rally was flagged-off by India’s minister for transport and highways, Mr Mansukh L. Mandaviya, who said it would play an important role in developing economic, transport and cultural relations among the three countries.

                The main purpose of the rally was to create awareness that an all-weather road linking New Delhi and Bangkok would soon be operational, said India’s ANI newsagency.

                In November last year, India held a trial run of passenger vehicles on the section of the IMT Trilateral Highway between Imphal, the capital of its Manipur State, and Nay Pyi Taw, via Tamu, Mandalay and Bagan.

                A rally linking India, Myanmar and Thailand took place in May and June and involved 12 vehicles. It began in Itanagar, the capital of India’s Arunachal Pradesh State, and travelled to Bangkok via Tamu, Mandalay, Taunggyi and Kengtung.



                • #23
                  Friendship Motor Car Rally from Delhi to Bangkok begins
                  Wednesday, 16 November 2016

                  India’s Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemical Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Lal Mandaviya flagged off a Friendship Motor Car Rally from India Gate lawns in Delhi to Bangkok on 13 November. His Excellency Chalit Manityakul, Ambassador of Thailand was also present on the occasion. The objective of the rally is to improve connectivity by road in the South-East Asian region and to sensitize the stakeholders of India Myanmar and Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement regarding potential benefits of such a regulatory regime.

                  While addressing the gathering, Shri Mandaviya said that this rally will also play an important role in developing the economic, transport and cultural relations between the three countries. He said that this rally will give a boost to the PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Act East Policy’ and will improve our relationship with our neighbouring countries. A commemorative stamp for IMT Rally, 2016 was also released on the occasion.

                  The rally caravan will cover a distance of 5,722 KMs along the IMT Trilateral Highway with about 80 participants from all the three countries, in 20 Indian made vehicles on a journey from Delhi to Bangkok over 19 days. Ceremonial flag off will also be held in other cities and state capitals enroute like Sarnath, Bodhgaya, Patna, Siliguri, Guwahati, Shillong, Kohima and Imphal and Began and Yangoon in Myanmar and Bangkok in Thailand.

                  The rally that will conclude at Bangkok on 2nd December, 2016, will further cement cultural and economic ties among the three nations and highlight the potential benefits of connectivity and integration in the region and in keeping with India’s focus on its close neighborhood.

                  The basic purpose of this rally would be to sensitize people about the fact that an all-weatherroad , connecting New Delhi and Bangkok would soon be operational . With the opening of Trilateral highway, it would become a reality to travel from New Delhi to Bangkok by road.

                  A trial run of passenger vehicles on the IMT Trilateral Highway up to Naypitaw in Myanmar was carried out during 9-14 November, 2015 in which Indian vehicles travelled to Myanmar on Imphal -Mandalay -Bagan- Naypitaw route and back and Myanmar vehicles joined the Indian vehicles on the return journey from Naypitaw to Imphal and returning to Myanmar.



                  • #24
                    Proposed India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway: India, Thailand hope to overcome challenges for early completion
                    Sunny Verma
                    March 30, 2018

                    The highway will facilitate easy movement of goods and people among the three countries.

                    Myanmar has earlier conveyed to India that it would proceed with the proposed motor vehicle agreement after comprehensively reviewing the implementation of similar arrangements it has with other countries. Even as Myanmar is having some concerns on signing a motor vehicle agreement to facilitate better connectivity on the proposed India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) trilateral highway, India and Thailand are hoping to overcome the challenges to ensure early completion of the flagship road for connecting South-East Asia. The highway will facilitate easy movement of goods and people among the three countries.

                    “Thailand remains committed to the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Transport Linkage Project (Trilateral Highway Project) and looks forward to its timely completion. Once completed, greater flows of trade and investment will take place along the route, stimulating the movement of goods and people, creating jobs, promoting tourism as well as raising the livelihoods of the peoples in the region,” a senior official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand told The Indian Express.

                    In its report on trade with ASEAN released in December, 2017, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce noted that the IMT is crucial move but the Government of Myanmar is not keen on signing proposed India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle agreement and taking it forward. The Committee recommended the Indian government to impress upon Myanmar for signing the agreement at the earliest arguing that any delay in executing the agreement would be a setback in establishing connectivity between the three countries.

                    The official with the Thailand’s foreign ministry said the transport corridor can be turned into an economic corridor over time but that would require common regulations. “In this light, software harmonisation i.e. rules and regulations for a seamless cross-border flow is needed to complement the physical connectivity,” the official said.

                    India is keen to move fast on the 1,360-kilometer-long IMT highway, which will Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand through Tamu, Kalewa, Yargi, Monywa, Mandalay, Baw Nat Gyi, Kawkareik and Myawaddy in Myanmar. India has committed to implement two projects on the IMT Trilateral Highway — construction of 69 bridges on 150 km Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa section, and upgradation of 120 km road on Kalewa-Yargi section in Myanmar.

                    The National Highways Authority of India has been appointed as the technical executing agency and project management consultant for implementing this project. India is upgrading the Kalewa-Yargi road section under grant assistance Myanmar and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,177.02 crore. The work for this particular section was awarded in December 2017 by NHAI, while the work for 69 bridges was awarded in September 2017.

                    Myanmar has earlier conveyed to India that it would proceed with the proposed motor vehicle agreement after comprehensively reviewing the implementation of similar arrangements it has with other countries. In its report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee has also recommended extending the IMT Highway to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam as that would be beneficial in facilitating trade and promoting production networks.