India is currently developing a road in its northeastern region bordering China that links to neighboring Bangladesh, a project for which Japan is providing full support in a bid to counter China’s increasing expansion into the region under its Belt and Road Initiative.
Visiting the Khowai district in Tripura, one of India’s eight northeastern states, in mid-April, I found a paved, widened national highway stretching eastward. The last time I was there, the road was narrow and in poor condition.
The Japanese government is supporting the construction of the 80-kilometer-long road. It will be completed this summer after retaining walls are built and other work is finished. The new road is expected to halve the travel time to and from the eastern part of Tripura.
A national highway leading south from Khowai to the border will also be widened this summer.
Tripura State borders Bangladesh for 856 kilometers, or 84% of the state’s total circumference. In the Matarbari area in southern Bangladesh, a deep-sea port that can accommodate large vessels is scheduled for completion in 2027 under a Japanese yen-loan-financed project.
A bypass will also be constructed on a national highway connecting the border with the port. Once all of these projects are completed, a major logistics route will be created from India to the Bay of Bengal via an existing major road.
“We’ll consider developing delivery routes to and from the northeastern states in anticipation of the completion of Matarbari Port,” a senior executive of a major Japanese logistics company operating in both countries told The Yomiuri Shimbun.