The legendary Ledo Road that linked India, Myanmar and China during World War II should be restored to boost trade among the three countries, a commentary in a China newspaper urged last week.
A road connecting the three countries had “obvious” economic significance for South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, said the June 16 commentary in the Global Times, published by the Chinese Communist Party.
An affiliate of the People’s Daily, the Global Times is known for its outspoken views on international issues.
“Driven by the economic potential and the need to reinforce transport network [sic] in the region, an increasing clamor of voices in China, India and Myanmar is calling for the restoration of the road,” it said.
“It is time for the three countries to deliberate over project,” said the commentary by Mr Ding Gang, a senior editor at the People’s Daily.
China should play a major role in the reconstruction of the road because it is “a more developed country than India and Myanmar,” the commentary said.
The 1,726-kilometre (1,072-mile) Ledo Road, later renamed the Stillwell Road, was a remarkable feat of engineering built during World War II to supply Chinese forces fighting the Japanese.
It linked Ledo in Assam with Kunming in China’s Yunnan Province via Myitkyina and Bhamo in Kachin State. Thousands of workers died building the road through rugged mountainous jungle terrain.
The road fell into disrepair after the war and much of its 1,033 km in Myanmar is barely usable or impassable.
China has rebuilt the road from Kunming to the border, the commentary said, adding that with Beijing’s help, Myanmar had upgraded the section from the border to Myitkyina.