Manoeuvering through Myanmar and Bangladesh, China wants to lay a high-speed rail link between Kunming and Kolkata, in its efforts to revive the ancient Silk route.
The proposal found a mention at the Greater Mekong Subregion meet, seeks to give a boost to the Chinese Bangladesh-India-China-Myanmar (BCIM) multi-model corridor project.
“We favour it. The high-speed corridor would also help Myanmar and Bangladesh economies too,” said Li Ji Ming, vice-secretary, Yunnan provincial government. He indicated funding for the project from various banks, including Asian Development Bank.
China has sanctioned $40 billion for the Silk route, which has a trade potential of $132 billion. The 2,800-km rail route could be critical for BCIM corridor, which is in favour of cross border trade among others.
Talking to reporters, Ming said, “Ever since Indian PM Narendra Modi assumed charge, the look east policy has moved ahead. We hope we can join our efforts together.”
China has been endeavouring to revive the Silk route with a plan to set up connectivity from Kunming to Kolkata. But this has sent alarm bells ticking in the Indian side, which is no stranger to the expansionist nature of China.
At present, Kunming, capital of Southwest China’s Yunnan province, is only connected to Kolkata. Yunnan is one of the major provinces engaged in construction of China-India-China peninsula economic corridor and BCIM economic corridor.