Reopening of Stilwell Road hangs in balance

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Reopening of Stilwell Road uncertain

Nay Pyi Taw, March 4: The reopening of the historic Stilwell Road hangs in balance, as India has clarified that the fate of the World War II road would be driven by the people’s demand.

“There is a demand to reopen it and there is work goining on and on our side too the road is being improved. We will be guided by the real demand among the people,” said a top South Block official.

It may be recalled that Stilwell Road was the only communication link in Arunachal Pradesh when India acquired freedom from the British rule in 1947. The strategic road constructed by the British ran between Lekhapani on Assam-Arunachal border and Kumning and was widely used by the military movements during the World War II.


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“I don’t mean the political demand, but the real demand of the people. We will be guided by real demand of the people. How much economic potential and how much difference does it make,” he said in reply to a question about the fate of the road.

The reason the Stilwell Road fell into disuse frankly, after the war, was because once the military necessity was over, there was not much business or trade to justify it.

Military necessity brought about the Stilwell Road at a time when there were no other road alternatives.

The demand to re-open the Stilwell Road that connects Ledo in Upper Assam to Kunming in Yunan Province in China via Myanmar, has been gaining ground over the years. The Assam Government, besides trade bodies, has renewed the demand to reopen the road.

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