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BCIM Car Rally 2013
While both India and China have undoubtedly achieved remarkable economic growth and global integration in the last two decades, areas of Western China, Northeastern India, and the adjoining areas of Myanmar and Bangladesh have not experienced the fruits of an increasingly globalized economy. In fact, the whole region has remained relatively disconnected, and the lessons of history (whether of the very distant past or of the famed Stilwell Road that almost seventy years ago carried supplies from India into Japanese-occupied China) all but forgotten, rendered hostage to new political geographies and national strategic interests.

The idea of holding a Kunming-to-Kolkata Road Rally across one of the arteries of the Southern Silk Route took shape with a resolution at the 2006 Delhi Forum meeting, and the suggestion was soon affirmed at the government-to-government level in the Joint Communiqué between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh later in the same year. For a long time, that was where the matter rested so that, while the rest of the world became increasingly integrated, a region of dynamic historical intercourse remained peripheral to global processes.

In the half-decade since the Hu Jintao–Manmohan Singh communiqué, several attempts have been made to carry out the proposed Road Rally, but each was frustrated in one way or another, for reasons both natural (tsunami) and political.

Finally, the year 2012 has dawned with the first step being taken to implement the Road Rally project: namely, a Route Survey to assess the conditions along the route, the facilities available, and the bottlenecks to smooth connectivity.

After many false starts and the near abandonment of the attempt, 13 participants from the 4 BCIM countries (5 Chinese, 4 Indians, and 2 each from Myanmar and Bangladesh) gathered in Kunming on 6 February 2012 to commence their 9 day cross-country odyssey of more than 2800 kms.

Flagged off by the Vice-Governor of Yunnan province, escorted through Myanmar, and received by the Minister of Communications of Bangladesh in Dhaka, the Route Survey team finally arrived in Kolkata and was welcomed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Mr Ranjan Mathai.

After the successful completion of the route survey, at a joint meeting of the partner countries it was decided that the actual BCIM Car Rally will be flagged off from the Helipad Ground, Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on 22nd February 2013. The car rally will traverse a distance of more than 3000 km through Bangladesh, India and Myanmar to culminate at Kunming, China. Around 80 participants representing the four counties of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar along with 20 car rally vehicles of both Indian and Chinese make will trace the following route over a period of 12 days: Kolkata – Jessore – Dhaka – Sylhet – Silchar – Imphal – Ka Lay – Mandalay – Ruili – Tengchong – Erhai Lake – Dali – Kunming. A ceremonial flag-down ceremony will take place at Kunming, China on 5th March 2013.

The Route: Kolkata to Kunming
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