Siliguri Corridor is situated in Siliguri, West Bengal, India. It is also known as India’s Chicken Neck. With time it became a significant strategic location. After the partition of Bengal in 1947, it was created. Siliguri Corridor is around 60km long and 20Km wide. This is also the Gateway of Southeast Asia for India. Below we will do a nitty-gritty analysis of the Siliguri Corridor.
Geography of Siliguri Corridor-
Siliguri Corridor is a narrow stretch of land situated in Bengal. Initially, British Govt has developed the neck for trade purposes.
Location area Nation wise-
In North- Sikkim (India), Bhutan & China is there.
Whereas, in West– Nepal.
East– Assam (India)
Chumbi Valley is around 130 km from the Corridor. Himalayan Mountain is there in the north. The area is filled with mostly sandy soil. This is why it’s difficult to build infrastructure there and even railway tracks.
Significant Factor of Siliguri Corridor-
The first & main vital factor is that it’s the way to trade between northeast Indian states with other states in India. As discussed before, there is only one railway track to connect with the mainland due to sandy soil. This is also important for Darjeeling Tea & Timber.
India’s Chicken Neck helps in the defence sector as well. It helps to connect the LAC military base through road & railway tracks. NH31 connects Siliguri with Assam. It connects with Army Corp 33 in Gangtok, Sikkim via NH10. These all routes help India to boost ‘Act East Policy’.
This works as a border for a few surrounding countries. Like Siliguri corridor is the border of Bhutan & Nepal. It has also contributed a major role in countering illegal immigration, Cross-border terrorism, etc. Organize crime & drug trafficking are prevalent in the Southeast Asian golden triangle – Myanmar, Thailand, Laos. These crimes can & do enter northeast states but the Chicken neck works as a strong alibi for India to protect other states from these crimes. The Siliguri Corridor is also situated in China’s Tibet region. This can work as a geographical advantage for India, in case they need to surveil.
The actions took by India till now-
India has constructed 2 strategic airbase -Bagdogra & Hasimara. This provides additional security on the east & west side.
Recently in 2019, BRO (Border Road Organisation) had constructed a motorable road connecting the Bheem base with the Doka La region. With this, the travel time decreased from 7 hours to just 40 mins. In June 2021, we heard another news of ‘Double Lane Class-70 Modular Bridge’ built by the BRO in the Doka la region.
Under the ‘Multi-Modal Transportation Project’, India has also been trying to connect the Sittwe port of Myanmar with Kolkata port & Mizoram. With this, we will get an alternative route for the Northeast region.
Also, to secure the corridor India needs to have Bangladesh as a strategic partner. Both countries have recently signed a bilateral agreement to sell goods to Agartala through the Chittagong port of Bangladesh.
Read more: Why there are a few states in India poor, where a few states are rich?
The Doklam issue-
Doklam Plateau is the area where, Indian, Bhutan & Chinese borders connect. And Doklam pass is located in the Sikkim sector, So Indian troops are available to protect. But China doesn’t like the assertion. In 2017 china started to construct a road in that area. The plan was to connect Chinese territory Yadong with Doklam. With this initiative, China can easily mobilize its troops to the border. In June 2017 India strictly opposed it and mobilize troops to control it.