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China’s New Sea-Road-Rail Link to Indian Ocean

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    World Affairs
  • Published
    2nd Sep, 2021


A newly-launched railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China provides China a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean.

About the new trade corridor

  • The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link.
  • The route is “the first to link western China with the Indian Ocean”.
  • Goods from Singapore reached Yangon Port, arriving by ship through the Andaman Sea of the northeastern Indian Ocean.
    • Goods were then transported by road to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China border in Yunnan province. 
  • The new railway line that runs from the border town of Lincang to Chengdu, a key trade hub in western China, completes the corridor.
  • This passage connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar and China, and is currently the most convenient land and sea channel linking the Indian Ocean with southwest China.
  • The one-way journey saves 20 to 22 days.
  • China also has plans to develop another port in Kyaukphyu in the Rakhine state, including a proposed railway line from Yunnan directly to the port, but the progress there has been stalled by unrest in Myanmar.
  • China Plans are underway to develop a “border economic cooperation zone” under the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • It is expected to become the lifeblood of international trade for China, while providing a source of income for Myanmar.
  • This trade corridor is another direct Chinese outlet to the Indian Ocean.
    • The first one being at the Gwadar port in Pakistan.

About Gwadar Port

  • Gwadar Port is a deep seaport located on the Arabian Sea in Gwadar.
  • Gwadar is important to Beijing as it is establishing direct transport links to the Indian Ocean via the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Counter Steps Already Taken by India

  • Supply Chain Resilience Initiative
  • Chabahar Port in Iran’s East.
  • Act East Policy
  • Malabar Exercise
  • Quad Initiative
  • Developing North-Eastern India
  • Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative