New Delhi: India is looking for an alternative route to Burma bypassing Bangladesh as it is a "major stumbling' block" for regional integration, said Indian Union Minister of State for Commerce Mr Jairam Ramesh yesterday.


He said that India would be rebuilding a port in Burma's west coast with an investment of 100 million dollars by making the 'Kaladan' river of Arakan State flowing through Mizoram navigable - which he said would give a 'completely new access and alignment of route' for the northeast of India , the rest of the country and for Asia as well.


Mr Ramesh further said that this project would be launched in early 2007 and would take three years to complete.


The Minister said that numerous highway projects were planned including the Asian trilateral highway encompassing Thailand, Burma and the North East which would result not only in road integration, but that of transport network of Asia and India.


This would ultimately lead to the establishment of a rail link from Kolkata to Hanoi via North East.


India cannot choose its neighbors and has to live with them and try to convince them about the benefits of closer economic engagements with New Delhi, Mr Ramesh said.