Almost 89 percent of the respondents said that the BCIM has the potential to benefit the region's economy, while 85 percent are of the view that it could be an effective multilateral forum to help India tackle its bilateral problems with immediate neighbours.
    
According to the survey, conducted by Centre for Environment Social and Policy Research (CESPR), 88 percent of the respondents also considered that serious human security issues like weapons and drugs smuggling could be better addressed through a multilateral forum like BCIM than at a bilateral level.
    
The people of the region also do not consider China to be a real threat towards the region with 86 percent of the respondents are of the view that it would not misuse the Bangladesh China India Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor with such fears overplayed by certain sections, CESPR coordinator Sabita Devi said.
    
Over 84 percent respondents were of the opinion that the BCIM could generate much economic activities and it could help control the chronic insurgencies of the region by providing viable livelihoods.

Besides, 86 percent of the respondents said that India should agree to open the BCIM highway starting from Kolkata and passing through Bangladesh and Northeast Indian states of Assam and Manipur.

A sizable majority in the North East want the BCIM corridor to pass through their own state and also want both manufacturing units and tourism packages offered along it, Devi added.
    
"People in this region are keen to open out toneighbouring countries for trade and investment and they want connectivity," says K2K (Kolkata - Kunming) forum secretary Binoda Mishra.
    
K2K is a forum that seeks to develop closer relations between Kolkata and Kunming, which has been declared sister cities by India and China in 2013.
    
The CESPR survey was conducted to ascertain the views of the people in the region about the proposal for a BCIM economic corridor connecting India and China through Bangladesh and Myanmar and the northeastern region of India.

The respondents were drawn from political parties, bureaucracy, academia and media covering all the seven states of the region -- Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, who expressed their views on a 15-question format.
    
"The CESPR proposes to conduct such public surveys on key issues involving the North East to help provide a reasonable idea of the 'mood of the region," Devi added.
    
The proposed BCIM Economic Corridor will be the first expressway between India and China passing through Myanmar and Bangladesh, covering 1.65 million square kilometres and benefiting an estimated 440 million people in China's Yunnan Province, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India through the combination of road, water and air linkages in the region.

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