India’s past track record with respect to infrastructural development in the Northeast has been poor. This makes India’s pledge to help other ASEAN countries with development seem like nothing but a hollow promise.
One such example can be seen in the case of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway which is still under construction and falls under the Look East Policy. Thailand’s part of the highway has already been constructed whereas the Indian side is yet to be completed and although Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced its completion by December 2019, the highway will not be operational before April 2021.
The road is not only expected to boost trade and commerce in South East Asia but also strengthen tourism ties between the three countries. This delay has been caused even after the Union Minister’s statement where he had cited that this project was being given ‘the highest’ priority.
If this is the state of projects that come highest in priority then we can only imagine what progress the other projects must have made.
According to experts, the government of India has been relying on the Act East Policy to develop its relationship with ASEAN countries and most states have already taken to the move yet little progress is visible. We sure are ‘Acting East’ now, but are we acting soon enough?