November 21: A large majority of people in Northeast
India feel that the Bangladesh China India Myanmar (BCIM)
economic corridor connecting India and China through
Bangladesh and Myanmar will benefit the region’s
economy and help it tackle an endemic insurgency problem
by providing viable livelihoods.
has been the finding of a survey conducted by the
Guwahati-based Centre for Environment Social and Policy
proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square
kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people
in China’s Yunnan Province, Bangladesh, Myanmar and
India through a combination of road, water and air
linkages in the region.
to the CESPR finding, 86% of surveyed people said India
should agree to open the BCIM highway starting from
Kolkata and passing through Bangladesh and the
Northeastern Indian states of Assam and Manipur.
survey was conducted among 300 informed respondents
drawn from political parties, bureaucracy, academia and
media, covering all the seven states of the region –
Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal
Pradesh. The respondents expressed their views on a
to the CESPR, the survey is significant in view of the
uncertainties over the BCIM
(Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) process following
India’s somewhat lukewarm reaction during Chinese
president Xi Jinping’s recent visit to India.
many as 267, or 89%, of the respondents said the BCIM
had the potential to benefit the economy of the
to 255 (85%) respondents, the BCIM was a useful
multilateral process that could help India tackle its
many problems with its immediate neighbours such as
Bangladesh and Myanmar – problems that have defied a
an overwhelming majority 260 or 86.67% did not subscribe
to the contention that China could misuse the BCIM
corridor-highway, and 256 (85.33%) felt the BCIM
corridor did not threaten India’s security.
to the perception that the corridor would be a security
threat to India, 266 (88,67%) felt serious human
security issues like weapons and drugs smuggling could
be better addressed through a multilateral forum like
the BCIM than at a bilateral level.
total of 253 (84.33%) respondents felt the BCIM could
generate a considerable amount of economic activities
that could help control Northeast’s chronic
good majority of 184 (61.33%) said it was possible to
take up river water sharing issues in forums such as the
254 (84.67%) said the BCIM highway should have a few
alternative arteries like the Stillwell Road or the road
through Kibhitu in Arunachal Pradesh.
to 280 (93.33%) respondents, the US would feel
apprehensive at such a grouping that involves India and
sizeable majority also wanted the BCIM corridor to pass
through their own state and that both manufacturing
units and tourism packages should offered along it.