Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently met with his Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni, in part to advance a proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor. In an email interview, Nimmi Kurian, associate professor at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and India representative at the India China Institute at the New School in New York, explained the BCIM proposal and its vision for regional integration.*
WPR: What is envisioned in the proposed BCIM Economic Corridor?
Nimmi Kurian: The BCIM Economic Corridor is a proposal being actively considered by both the governments of India and China to promote subregional cooperation among the geographically contiguous border regions of India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The proposal figured in discussions during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in May and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in October. The proposed project constitutes a long-standing recommendation by the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation, the only subregional Track II forum that brings together India and China. At the core of this geoeconomic mapping is a vision to restore the Southern Silk Route, the fabled ancient trade network from India to China. A 1,900-mile-long car rally held in February this year from Kolkata to Kunming via Dhaka and Mandalay retraced the historical route to underline its role as a powerful metaphor for historical connectivities and the vision of a seamless flow of people, goods and services.