Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Asian Highways in India You Probably Do not Know About

Asian Highway

Asian Highway – 1 - Asian Highway Network – Longest Route


One of Asian Highway Network longest route is the Asian Highway 1- AH1 which tends to run 20,557 km from Tokyo, Japan through Korea, China, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran towards the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, west of Istanbul, joining end on with the European route E80.

Also known as the Great Asian Highway, the Asian Highway is said to be a cooperative project between countries in Asia and Europe together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific – ESCAP, for improvement of the highway systems in Asia. It is also one of the three pillars of the Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development – ALTID project, endorsed by the ESCAP commission in 1992, of its 48th session, including Asian Highway, Trans-Asian Railway – TAR as well as facilitation of land transport projects.

Thirty-two countries had signed the contracts enabling the highway to cross the continent as well as to reach Europe wherein some of the countries who had been part of the highway project comprised of India, Sri Lanka Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea and Bangladesh. Several of the finance had been from higher, advanced Asian nations such as Japan, India and Chine together with international agencies like Asian Development Bank.

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Maximum Use of Prevailing Highways


The intentions of the project is to make the maximum use of the prevailing highways of the continent in order to prevent the construction of new ones unless in instances where missing routes would be essential for construction. An Asian infrastructure news website – Project Monitor has remarked that `early beneficiaries of the Asian Highway project are the planners within the national land transport department of the participating countries, since it assists them in planning the most cost-effective and efficient routes in promoting domestic as well as international trade. Non-coastal areas that have often been negligible are the other beneficiaries’.

But towards the mid-2000s, some of the transportation experts had been sceptical regarding the possibility of the project considering the economic and the political climate in South as well as South-East Asia. The Asian Highway Network would be taking over two projects where one would be the AH 45 while the other would be the new AH 45A. The AH 45A will be the new highway all across Asia from Tonghua to Sana’a

Promoting Development of International Road Transport


The AH project had been introduced in 1959 by the United Nations with the intention of promoting the development of the international road transport in the state, During 1960-1970, the first phase of the project extensive progress had taken place though it slowed down in 1975, when the financial support had been suspended.

A number of projects had been conducted by ESCAP in 1992, in collaboration with AH member countries in details after the endorsement of ALTID. Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network- IGA had been implemented on 18 November 2003 by the Intergovernmental Meeting.

The IGA comprises of Annexe I tends to classify 55 AH routes between 32 member countries amounting to around 140,000 km and Annex II - `Classification and Design Standards’. In April 2004, the IGA treaty was contracted by 23 countries during the 60th session of the ESCAP Commission at Shanghai, China and 29 countries had approved the agreement by 2013.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

India’s Bizarre Border Ritual


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Wagah Border – Closing Ceremony – India/Pakistan


From Amritsar, around 30 km west to the town of Atari, on the Wagah border, the closing ceremony between India and Pakistan is a daily tradition between the two countries. It is a daily ritual which occurs at the Wagah section of the border and is accessible from the city of Amritsar.

This border area is a 200 metre space spanning the geographical boundary between the two countries where the road is lined with grandstands and divided by a gate. On either side spectators gather where the Indians are to the east and the Pakistanis towards the west. It is a highly choreographed event that is performed towards sunset amidst a huge gathering.

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One will find hundreds and hundreds of locals scattered around with hawkers making their way in the crowd. The place is in an oval shaped area having large concrete steps which spread around for seating with a giant gate passing right through the middle.

The gate was the border between India and Pakistan. Foreigners are provided with their own seating area towards the front to witness the ceremony. The ceremony starts with a bang. To warm up the crowd, the officials commence to play bhangra music with the audience contributing to the beat of the music and all the women leaving their seats and dancing to the rhythm of the music in the centre of the arena dancing and radiating pride for their country.

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Articipating Army Officials Compete on Loudest/Longest Shout


The women giants are given Indian flags and races are held from the centre of the arena to the border gates and back again. There is no age lime for these races which start with young girls, going back and forth, with a gradual increase on age as the competitors tend to increase.

Towards the end two women who could be of advanced age, glide through the crowds carrying the flags with no indication of old age. The participating army officials then come out from both the ends of the border shouting the names of their own countries or regions which seems like a competition on who could hold it for the longest and loudest, where they are met by their own respective crowds with deafening shouts of repetition as they make attempt to compete with the other country.

One gets the opportunity of witnessing two men from two different countries with less than 100 m apart participating in an old fashioned screaming competition.The Indian army officer together with his fellow officer,then proceed with their march across the centre of the arena attired in extravagant uniforms which is complete with adorned giant fan shaped red turban.

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Ceremony – A Whirlwind of Pomp & Circumstance

Among the total of around six officers, there seems to be one ranking officer in the group who tends to continue with his shout at his men and high kicking his way around the area.

During this procedure, the gates between the two countries tend to open up with both armies continuing with their march towards each other and the rituals begin as the two groups begin directing their fiery patriotism at each other. After the exchange of fiery patriotism, the two head officers from the respective country shake hands with the closing of the gate, lowering of the flags and the ceremony comes to an end.

The whole ceremony seems like a whirlwind of pomp and circumstance, which could be weird though wonderful. It is an implausible piece of cultural curiosity and one which should not be missed.