Recently, there has been news of fresh road construction efforts in Burma’s borderlands and, in particular, of a road link from Bangladesh to Burma. According to reports, the first stage to be built is a 25-kilometer border crossing funded by Bangladesh. This initial construction includes what has become an almost obligatory component of the ongoing frenzy for cross-border development – a “Friendship Bridge”.

The border region through which this road will travel is controlled by the Burmese Army’s Western Command. Apparently, “the road is [considered] important for Burma to promote trade and tourism with Bangladesh”.

Major roads now obviously link Thailand and China to Burma, and a road from Bangladesh is an important new direction for regional transport linkages. I have little direct experience of Burma’s western borderlands but certainly welcome any comments from New Mandala readers who can tell us more.