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The Asian Development Bank’s approval of $631 million for the first segment of the East Coast Economic Corridor—connecting Visakhapatnam and Chennai—is an important step forward in the quest for India’s first coastal industrial corridor. Ultimately linking Kolkata and Tuticorin, this 2,500km-long corridor will transform the eastern coast.
The idea is to not just build new ports or upgrade old ones but raise entire industrial ecosystems that encompass several such ports.
The Visakhapatnam-Chennai corridor, for example, will link four economic hubs and nine industrial clusters. Apart from spurring growth and development, and generating employment, the East Coast Economic Corridor—one among five economic corridors that India is currently developing—will knit together the domestic market.
It is also an integral element of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regional strategy. Trade is diplomacy by other means—and India is in need of better integration with regional value chains.