Major new developments in cross-border trade routes between China and India

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Southeast Asia to be transformed by new road, rail and air routes 

Our sister blog,, which deals with matters of China – India bilateral trade, has a great piece up at the moment which identifies the developing new trade routes between the two countries. Taken from a well received presentation given by Chris Devonshire-Ellis last week, it highlights the historic trade route history between the two countries over the past 2,500 years, including descriptions and maps showcasing the old silk road routes, sea routes linking China to the Roman Empire, the tea horse route connecting Lhasa as a trading city with Calcutta, and reminds us of the wartime Yunnan-East India Stillwell Road.

Such history lessons are pertinent, for both countries are set to massively expand their trading arteries, as Chris demonstrates. The Stillwell Road for example is being repaved and upgraded, linking Kunming with Mandalay, Dhaka and Calcutta, as is the proposed, and massive, Trans-Asian rail network, which reduces times taken to get goods from Yunnan into India to 48 hours instead of the current 10 days.

Air routes also are identified, with the new Kunming-Calcutta route already proving to be a big hit, and proposed routes linking Mumbai with Suzhou, Hangzhou and Ningbo. China Southern is also re-establishing direct flights from Guangzhou to Chennai and a new leg to Bangalore next year.

It’s an eye-opening piece, and highly recommended – Yunnan and the Chinese cities of Kunming and Nanning for sure look set to be major players in this resumption of cross-border trade – predicted to quadruple by 2009. This article tells you why, how and where.