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Indian demonstrators demand link to Kunming

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According to an AFP report, more than 10,000 demonstrators in northeast India's Assam State walked along the Stilwell Road (aka the Ledo Road) to demand the historic route's reopening, which would reconnect Kunming with India for the first time in decades.

The Stilwell Road is a 1,700 km (1,079 mi) route connecting Kunming with Ledo in Assam State via northern Myanmar (Burma). The former World War II supply route was built under the supervision of US Army General Joe Stilwell from 1942 to 1944.

Demonstrators said that they hoped India would pressure Myanmar into renovating the stretch of road contained within that country. Carrying placards along the Indian portion of the road, the demonstrators said they wanted the road rebuilt because it would facilitate trade with China, Myanmar and Southeast Asia.

Major bilateral trade between India and China is only a recent development due to geographic conditions (the Himalayas) and political factors (Sino-Indian war in the 1960s). Trade between the two countries is increasing rapidly: in 1999, China-India trade totaled under US$2 billion; in 2005 it exceeded US$18 billion. China is now India's third-largest trading partner.

AFP report here.

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