Bangkok: – Lawmakers from Thailand claimed that India, along with the United States and Australia, are keen on the Kra Canal project, opening a route for the Chinese vessels, to enter the Indian Ocean region directly from the South China Sea. A few days ago, the Thailand government rejected the Chinese proposal to build the Kra Canal project. Against this background, the Thailand lawmakers have indicated activation of the project by mentioning names of India and other countries. India has still not reacted on the subject.
The Thailand parliament had appointed a committee to check the feasibility of the Kra Canal project. Songklod Thipparat, the chief of the committee, claimed that the possibility of realisation of the project has increased. He said that countries like India, the United States and Australia are willing to assist Thailand for the project. Songklod Thipparat said during an interview, ‘More than 30 companies have expressed willingness to provide financial and technical assistance for the Kra Canal project. Foreign embassies have started enquiries regarding the current status of the project. Some countries have expressed willingness to sign a bilateral memorandum of understanding.’
This statement has surfaced after the Thailand government rejected the USD 30 billion proposal presented by China. The Kra Canal project is believed to be essential for China not only from economic but also from the military point of view. Most of the Chinese trade is still dependent on marine transport and the Strait of Malacca in the Indo-Pacific sector, the main route for it. This strait, which is a part of the navigational limits of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is the main link joining the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.
India and the United States have the capability to block this critical route of Chinese freight movement. The Indian navy can stop the Chinese freight movement in the Strait of Malacca. As per Indian analysts, this realisation is a deterrent for the implementation of Chinese plans against India. Therefore, China had decided to build the Kra Canal Project in Thailand to create an alternative to the Strait of Malacca. It is said that this 120-kilometre long canal would save a detour of 700 kilometres through the Strait of Malacca for the Chinese ships.
But after busting the Chinese plans, the claims made by Thailand that other countries are keen on building the canal, become significant. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha opposed the project and has proposed building railways and highways. Even during his tenure in 2016, the Thai Prime Minister had claimed that the Kra Canal project is not feasible. At that time, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had mentioned the activities of the rebel organisations in Thailand.