Shillong: Hopeful of getting Myanmar’s nod to re-open the Stilwell Road connecting India and China, the government has said an alternative route via the Sitwee port in that country would open the Northeast to the rest of South Asia.
“Though India wants to open the Stilwell road, Myanmar has been opposing the idea citing certain reasons. But we are hopeful that the road would open one day. As of now, an alternative route via the Sitwee port of Myanmar would open the northeast to the rest of South Asia,” said Union DoNER minister B.K. Handique.
Myanmar, a DoNER official said, is not interested in opening the road as it passes through the country’s Kachin region which is infested by insurgent elements, including those belonging to India like Ulfa and NSCN factions.
Stilwell Road, built to outflank the marauding Japanese and establish a land supply route to Yunnan province of China during the World War II, was originally called Ledo Road, as it started at Ledo in eastern Assam. It was later renamed after US General Joseph Stilwell, the then chief of staff of the Allied Forces.
The road was constructed under the direct supervision of General Stilwell in 1942, connecting some sections of the old Burma Road, stretching from Kunming.
Some 60 km of the road lies in India, 1,000 km in Myanmar and more than 600 km in China. However, parts of the road have virtually disappeared due to a lack of maintenance.