A deep water port built in Myanmar’s Sittwe on the Bay of Bengal by India is ready to be commissioned. An inauguration ceremony for this strategically important facility is expected to take place next month, according to Vikram Misri, the Indian envoy to Myanmar.
About Sittwe Port
Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State (which has been in the news for the plight of Rohingya Muslims) in south-western Myanmar. It is located at the mouth of the Kaladan river, which flows into Mizoram in north-eastern India.
Construction of the sea port is the first phase of an integrated $500-million project being funded by a long-term interest-free loan provided by India. Dredging of the river and inland water terminals are included in the plan.
The strategic advantage would be that it would significantly lower the cost and distance of movement from Kolkata to Mizoram and beyond. Once shipments arrive at Sittwe, they will be transferred to smaller freight carriers which would sail upstream into Mizoram.
Other Points of Contacts
Also on the anvil are 10 border haat points to facilitate local economic activity between Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Myanmar Airways International has just supplemented Air India’s twice weekly service between Yangon and Kolkata to double the direct flights between the two cities.
Present access to North-East
India has for years sought transit access through Bangladesh to ship goods to the landlocked north-eastern States. At present, the only route to this region from the rest of India is a rather circuitous one through a narrow strip of Indian territory nicknamed the Chicken’s Neck in West Bengal, sandwiched between Bhutan and Bangladesh.