India is to open a new four lane motorway to allow traders and tourists to drive from its eastern tea state of Assam into Burma, Thailand and eventually Cambodia and Vietnam.
The new "trilateral highway" is aimed at creating a new economic zone ranging from Calcutta on the Bay of Bengal to Ho Chi Minh City on the South China Sea.
The first phase of the project was agreed during Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to Burma this week when he and President Thein Sein set a 2016 deadline to complete a super highway linking Guwahati in Assam to Burma's border with Thailand via Mandalay and the former capital Rangoon.
According to analysts, the road is a key part of a plan to open the "Mekong-India Corridor" to link the world's second fastest growing market – India – with the new Asian Tiger economies of Indo-China.
Until now plans to open this new economic zone, which bypasses China, the world's fastest growing economy and superpower, have been hampered by international sanctions against the former military regime in Burma.
But with the gradual easing of sanctions following the series of democratic reforms unveiled by Burma's president Thein Sein since last August, the obstacles have now cleared.
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