A new troika for India’s northeast region – the triad of Bangladesh, India and Japan (BIJ) to develop North Eastern Region | 24th April 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about forming the triad of Bangladesh, India, and Japan (BIJ) to develop the North Eastern Region (NER) of India rapidly and effectively.


  • GS2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations;
  • GS3: Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism;
  • Prelims


  • India’s North Eastern Region (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim) is undergoing dramatic change.
  • It has overcome several (but not all) security challenges and is now heading toward economic development.
  • Political changes have been helpful. So is the extensive web of linkages with neighbouring Bangladesh. Besides, Japan has emerged as a significant development partner for both India and Bangladesh.
  • The third India-Japan Intellectual Dialogue, hosted by the Asian Confluence (ASCON), in Agartala, Tripura, showed that the current decade may produce path-breaking changes in the northeast, bringing the troika of Bangladesh, India and Japan closer.
  • The northeast is blessed with vast natural resources. Its strategic location, sharing borders with Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, is an asset.
  • Creating value chains and manufacturing products should encompass diverse sectors such as agro-processing, man-made fibres, handicrafts, assembly of two-wheelers and perhaps mobile phones, and pharmaceuticals.
  • The population, with its good education, already excels in the services sector drawing potential investor attention.


  • Focus areas in the NER:
    • Transport and connectivity:
      • We need to build this infrastructure in order to develop the NER. Some projects are of prime importance in this regard.
      • One such project is the development of Matarbari Deep Sea Port (DSP) on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh.
        • It is being constructed with Japanese assistance and is scheduled to be operational in 2027.
        • A recent ASCON study envisages this port to be “a game changer”. To be optimally viable, the port will have to cater to the needs of Bangladesh and India’s northeast.
    • Rapid Industrialisation:
      • While increased connectivity of roads and railways is important, it is not enough without the creation of regional industrial value chains.
      • Hence, rapid industrialisation in the sectors where the northeast enjoys competitive advantage assumes significance.
  • Challenges:
    • Investment:
      • We need to diversify the sources of investment in the NER. Along with foreign investment, domestic investment also needs to increase.
      • Also, Indian companies must invest in the NER.
    • Allow more foreign partners:
      • At present, Japan is the major development partner for India in developing NER. This is not sustainable in the long term.
      • We must allow other countries, such as Bangladesh, to invest more in the NER.
    • Role of BIMSTEC:
      • When issues of regional cooperation and integration are discussed, scant attention seems to be paid to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which is self-defeating.
      • This must change so that the group progresses towards its vision of establishing the Bay of Bengal Community (BOBC).

Way Forward:

  • The goal of connecting a large part of South Asia with Southeast Asia requires an astute pilot. This leadership can come from the triad of Bangladesh, India and Japan (BIJ).
  • A BIJ Forum should be launched first at the level of Foreign Ministers, a move that will be welcome in the northeast.

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