India-Myanmar links: Imphal-Mandalay bus service soon
Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday discussed the progress of India-Myanmar transport connectivity with the Myanmar Minister for Communication and Transport U Thant Sin Maung.
"The two sides discussed the status of the project for upgrading the Kalewa-Yagyi stretch of the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway, starting Imphal-Mandalay bus service, and a bilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement between the two countries," a statement released by Gadkari's office said.
The upgrade of the Kalewa-Yagyi stretch of IMT is being executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). "The project is running well within time and we hope to complete it before the scheduled date," NHAI said.
The two sides, the statement said, also expressed willingness to start the Imphal-Mandalay bus service.
"India and Myanmar had operationalized the Land Border Crossing Agreement earlier this year. The agreement allows nationals from the two countries holding valid passport and visa to cross over without requiring special permission. Now both countries have to select bus operators to run the service," it said.
Once the service starts, a bus from India will take passengers to the Myanmar border where they will be transferred to the bus run by a Myanmar operator for travelling further into Myanmar. Likewise, India-bound Myanmar nationals will transfer into bus run by an Indian operator for further travel into India.
Gadkari's office said that both the countries also expressed their eagerness to carry forward the process of connectivity by signing a bilateral "Motor Vehicles Agreement" for seamless movement of cargo and passenger movement.
"The draft agreement is under discussion and the two sides are keen to finalize it soon," it said.
The 1,360-kilometer-long IMT Trilateral Highway is a regional highway being constructed under India's Act East policy to boost connectivity in the region. -IANS