India and Japan snub China, to Fast-track the Big Infrastructure development in Northeast!

In what could be called as a big snub to China, India and Japan has decided to fast-track the Big Infrastructure development in North-East. China has been very sensitive towards any development of Infrastructure in North-East, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, as it considers it its own territory.

India and Japan has joined hands to develop connectivity and road network development, electricity and disaster management projects in entire North East region. This strategy is also viewed as an attempt to snub China.

This new initiative, which will have an adequate representation all of the North-Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. It is very important as it comes in the backdrop of Chinese troops making repeated incursions into Indian territory is last couple of years.

India and Japan has formed a joint-forum which will not only create huge Infrastructure in the region, but it will also create a road map for attracting investments in the region which holds immense strategic importance for India.

The first meeting of the forum is scheduled for today at a time when Beijing has accused New Delhi of sending troops into its territory and obstructing the construction of a road. A Japanese embassy spokesperson confirmed the development. “Development of North East is a priority for India and a key to promote its Act East Policy. Japan has also placed a special emphasis on cooperation in North East for its geographical importance connecting India to South-East Asia and historical ties”.

Thursday’s meeting will be chaired by DONER (Development of North-Eastern Region) minister Jitendra Singh and will be attended by Japan’s ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu. The forum may have representation from India’s ministries of external affairs, road transport and highways, power and the department of economic affairs.

Japan has already been helping India with some huge infrastructure projects such as the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor. Japanese Prime MinisterShinzo Abe will visit India next month and he is expected to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the high-speed rail corridor.

India’s priority areas are Infrastructure, Disaster management and other natural priorities of North Eastern states like tourism, handicrafts and handlooms, water resources including fisheries, power etc. All these areas have been neglected since independence.

India and China have also sparred over hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh, a state that borders China and has the highest potential for hydropower generation in India.

Several multilateral lending agencies, including the World Bank, have been unwilling to fund projects in the so-called disputed Border States in India’s northeast region—seen as sensitive as parts of the region are claimed by China.

Experts say that Japanese involvement in these projects may get expedited with the Dokalam incident acting as a trigger.

Manish Sharma