Imphal, Sep 29 (IANS) The Indian government would spend Rs.8.5 billion ($185 million) over the next three years to develop land customs stations along the border with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, it was announced Friday.
'Of this, Rs.70 crore (Rs.700 million) will be at Moreh in Manipur,' said Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh, who is on a three-day visit to Manipur.
Moreh is currently the only functional land customs station through which trade along 1,600 km of the India-Myanmar border takes place.
Ramesh visited Moreh Friday along with senior officials of the ministry of home affairs, finance and external affairs.
'Moreh is part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 'Look East' policy, which envisages closer integration of the economies of the northeastern states of India with Southeast Asia,' he said.
'The integrated check-post is being implemented to manage both trade cargo and passenger movement across the border and provide modern infrastructure facilities and better connectivity.
'It will greatly facilitate regional trade and also help local communities living in the vicinity of border towns through which trade takes place.'
The minister said the value of formal and informal border trade transacted between India and Myanmar exceeds Rs.20 billion.
At present, only 22 items are exchangeable under the bilateral border trade agreement.
'The Ministry of Commerce has just proposed that these restrictions be removed and that trade take place without any commodity restrictions at Moreh, as also with Bangladesh and Nepal,' he said.