New Delhi: India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway (TH) is likely to be operational by December 2019, union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.

India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on about 1,400km long highway that would link the country with southeast Asia by land and give a boost to trade, business, health, education and tourism ties among the three countries. “Next year by the end of December, we will be in a position to get connectivity...We are giving highest priority to this (Indian-Myanmar-Trilateral Highway project). This will boost trade and ties among the nations in the region," the union road transport and highways minister said in New Delhi.

The minister said there are 24 projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) connectivity and work is on in 14 to 16 projects. He said most of the projects were being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Asked about the challenges in the project, the minister said, “There are some land acquisition and other problems... Tree felling is a big problem...We are finding out solutions."

Last month, Gadkari said connectivity of projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, extension of TH to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project are being planned and they are at different stages of implementation.

He also said India has proposed $1 billion line of credit to promote sea, air and road connectivity projects with ASEAN besides setting up a project development fund of $77 million to develop manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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