The Straits Times
Published on Dec 19, 2012

Amid China tensions, South-east Asia looks to India


NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - The dozens of vehicles that roared into northeast India this week on a rally from Indonesia symbolise deeper ties between the South Asian giant and South-east Asia, but the dreadful roads along several parts of the 8,000km journey also show how much remains to be done.

The caravan crossed jungles and mountains in eight nations before reaching the remote Indian state of Manipur, bordering Myanmar, in an event promoting a high-level meeting between India and Asean leaders from in New Delhi on Thursday and Friday.

"The roads crumbled to begin with and then ceased to exist," said participants Bijoy Kumar and Vinod Nookla in a blog published by Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian company that supplied the XUV 500 vehicles that participated.

"In place of tarmac there were boulders and the road started becoming narrower by the kilometre."