TODAY -

Imphal-Mandalay connectivity : Road to globalization
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: January 13, 2015 -

Imphal-Mandalay bus service Indo-Myanmar joint survey commences
Imphal-Mandalay bus service Indo-Myanmar joint survey commences :: Pix - TSE



Ten Myanmar officials are presently in Manipur undertaking a field survey of the much talked about Imphal-Mandalay bus service together with a team of Indian officials.

Slowly and steadily, the Imphal-Mandalay bus service has started taking a concrete shape.

Along with the Imphal-Mandalay bus service, India’s Look East Policy has moved into a new phase, a phase where the policy is almost ripe for implementation on ground. Imphal-Mandalay bus service is not about connectivity alone.

It is an undeniable testimony of New Delhi’s conviction to engage with South East Asian countries through Myanmar, one of the most reclusive countries on the planet till the turn of the last decade.

Through economic cooperation and political engagement, India is also determined to check the growing influence of China over Myanmar.

If Myanmar was the most reclusive country, Manipur and for that matter the entire North East India still remain landlocked, backward and isolated from all directions.

The region is connected to the mainland India through the narrow Silliguri Corridor, rightly called the Chicken Neck. At the same time, the region has little or no connectivity with the neighbouring foreign countries.

It was against this backdrop that the Government of Manipur envisaged the grand project of introducing regular bus service between Imphal and Mandalay.

Now a field survey is being undertaken and a Memorandum of Understanding has been already drafted.

A few years hence, Manipur would definitely earn the epithet ‘Gateway to South East Asia’ and the tiny State would be exposed directly to the juggernaut of global finance and globalization.

One pertinent question arises here. Are we prepared to face the impending onslaught of globalization?

After all, the information technology revolution dictates that the world has become a closely knit globe, and thus, globalization is inevitable.

One cannot simply escape from the integrating clutch of technology. So the advice is: mitigate risk and become a partner in the new process.

The unsaid part was/is that globalization is a new force in which liberalization and privatization of economy are the central unchangeable configuration.

In place of the colonial industrial or finance capital, hitherto considered to be exploitative, today stands the global finance capital.

In regions where there is lack of financial and banking institutions, it has tremendous risk factor. It does not stop here.

Virgin lands and their resources remain to be exploited, and when these are exploited the natives do not stand to be benefited.

Resisting such a force is a Herculean task, some say even next to impossible.

Oil exploration in Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Jiribam is a case in point.

How much the State of Manipur or its people would benefit from the fossil fuel found underneath its surface remains vague and doubtful.

This is just the beginning. Once the Imphal-Mandalay bus service becomes operational, Manipur and the entire North East region would be bombarded by global finance capital from all directions.

In this age driven by information technology, Manipur cannot afford isolation.

In fact, connectivity is crucial for economic development. Sure enough, Imphal-Mandalay highway would open a thousand opportunities.

But the moot question is, are we prepared to exploit these opportunities.

Along with the opportunities, the international highway would unleash several formidable challenges upon the State of Manipur.

Human resources development, resource mobilization and infrastructure development are the keys to overcome these challenges, if we must suggest.

If globalization is inevitable, we must adapt and thrive. So the new catchword is, either you adapt or perish.



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