Groups monitoring Arakan natural resources have criticized India’s $110 million Kaladan dam project for its potential negative consequences for the local populace.
Arakan Rivers Network executive director Ko Tun Zaw noted, "The project is very important for the Indian Government because it has set its sight on the gas and oil fields. We understand from what India has frequently been telling the Burmese authorities and entrepreneurs, from reports that we have been reading, as well as from our own research, India wants to get oil and gas from Burma's Arakan State and that plan is linked to the Kaladan Project. What I mean is that India intends to transport gas to its northeast region by ship from the area. That is why the Kaladan Project is quite strategic for the Indian Government. Now, they are talking about clearing the region of revolutionaries, guerrillas and separatists. At the same time, the Burmese Government also wants to clear the area of armed revolutionaries. So, in my opinion the project serves the mutual interest of the two governments," Democratic Voice of Burma Online reported.
Another critic, Arakan Oil Watch director Ko Kyaw Khaing said, "While China is building the Burma-China oil and gas pipeline, India is undertaking the Kaladan Project along the Kaladan River to link up with India's northeast regions. So, the project is quite important for them.
Like the oil and gas pipeline being politically and energy-wise important for China, the Kaladan Project is even more important for India. That is because to conduct trade with India's northeast areas is very difficult because most of them are landlocked. Development is, therefore, slow in the areas. Once the Kaladan Project is implemented, the northeast region will open up for trade and transport of other products via Arakan. The project will contribute to the improvement of India's economy and security."
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com