Kolkata: More than six decades after an ancient trade route was closed post World War II, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) hopes to retrace the lost trails and revive commercial trade in the `Southern Silk Route` with a 3,000-km car rally from Kolkata to Kunming in China.
In an interview to PTI on the eve of the 12-day BCIM Car Rally, CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said the rally would not only achieve a unique feat since the route had been closed since the World War II, it would also demonstrate symbolically that "China is not far away from India".
"Since most parts through which the BCIM Rally cars will travel are underdeveloped, the potential of trade is enormous. Here I am not talking about border trade, but commercial trade by the land route," he continued.
"The region of North East in India and the adjoining parts in Bangladesh, Myanmar and South West China remain by and large underdeveloped.
"There is a common need for regional connectivity, which when it happens will give impetus to development, and also increase trade and commerce," he said about the region which has a market of 2.8 billion people, and a GDP of USD 9.3 trillion.