While the huge port-industrial complex idea on Burma’s southeast coast at Tavoy faces a rethink from Thai industrial conglomerate Italian-Thai Development, India is being seen as a possible savior for the shuddering project.
The Thai developer is suffering a hiccup as potential investors hesitate following the decision by the Burmese government to ban plans for a big 4,000 megawatt power plant, which was meant to be the engine for the entire US $50 billion project.
The question facing Italian-Thai is what alternative energy source can they use to fuel the essential power plant? The Burmese have implied that gas would not be available.
But India’s media see a modern port at Tavoy as a vital link between South Asia and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Urging India’s big companies to get involved in Tavoy (also known as Dawei), The Pioneer newspaper in Delhi comments:
“The biggest impetus to India’s Look East Policy could be the Dawei project in Burma. This strategically important deep-water port, being touted as the biggest infrastructure project ever in Southeast Asia, would outmatch China’s showpiece Gwadar port project in Pakistan offers a viable chance to unite the fast-growing South India region with the Asean.”
And a leading regional expert on strategic affairs in Singapore has described the Tavoy plan as pivotal to India’s growth eastwards.
“[India] realizes the economic significance of this coastal city which could give it a much quicker access to Southeast Asian markets, therefore enhancing the Asean-India Free Trade Agreement,” said Pavin Chachavalpongpun of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
In a research paper he points out that India proposed a port development at Tavoy eight years ago.