GUWAHATI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project was getting the final push.
He cited various challenges causing delays in the completion of the project.
“Kaladan is in a very difficult part of Myanmar. There were a lot of logistical challenges even to get to the place. Work has progressed in some parts. For example, the Sittwe port has been operational for some time. The Paletwa Inland Water Terminal has also progressed. But the real challenge we had was to bring it up the waterway. And there we found the navigability of dirt was much difficult than the surveys had indicated,” Jaishankar told journalists in Guwahati.
“So, we had to increase the road element of the project which was in Mizoram. The road building has been the cause of delay because there are some law and order challenges in that region. But we are now confident that we will be able to push it through. Some projects move faster, some move slower. You learn something and get better at it. I believe we are in the last sort of that push,” he said.
The US $484 million projects will connect the Kolkata seaport with the Sittwe seaport in the Rakhine State of Myanmar by sea. In Myanmar, it will link the Sittwe seaport with Paletwa in the Chin State via the Kaladan riverboat route, and then from Paletwa by road to Mizoram. The project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2014.
Asked if the coup in Myanmar will have any impact on India given that the neighbouring country plays an important role in India’s Act East Policy, Jaishankar said, “These are early days. We see development projects as addressing the needs of people. I would very much hope that the development projects are not affected.”
Accompanied by the Japanese Ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki, Jaishankar visited the site of the Japan International Cooperation Agency-funded Guwahati water supply project and reviewed the progress of work.
Talking about the India-Japan partnership, he said, “Our presence today not only reflects the strong cooperation that we have but it also underlines how this partnership can really make a difference.”