The crucial role of infrastructure

Narendra Damodardas Modi, or simply Modi, the 14th and current Prime Minister of India, in service since 2014, rolled out a number of major infrastructure projects aimed to bring the country to the next level of international exposure.
For decades in fact, India has been self sufficient, and looked abroad for links and connections, but not entirely focusing on becoming a production hub for the world.
India has gained undoubtable global exposure, but not significant enough to capitalise on the major production shift that happened from the ‘90s throughout the first decade of this century, which was on the other hand almost completely absorbed by mainland China.
In fact, had India partook that global process 2 decades ago, perhaps could have curbed the current damaging effects that coronavirus is imposing on the global economy, as the world’s number one manufacturer, China, shuts down a large number of factories fearing that the virus outbreak could go beyond control.
India has decided to start from infrastructure in order to begin a new renaissance. For someone like me who used to live in Africa, I have to agree, a healthy logistic infrastructure is pivotal in the development of any country.
That explains why China is so heavily invested in building infrastructures from West to East Africa. In the Middle East, Oman itself proves that state of the art infrastructure brought an unprecedented level of economic and financial growth to the Sultanate.
In India Prime Minister Modi has rolled out a number of initiatives that see involved all segments of logistics. For instance the Inland Waterways projects, aiming to maximise the usage of rivers as logistic routes.
An additional 150 to 200 large vessels will be deployed along the country’s waterways within the next 3 to 4 years, bringing the overall capacity to more than double at 65 million tonnes.
As Oman very well knows, gas is the new oil. India does not neglect that either. The Gujarat-Gorakhpur Gas Pipeline is going to be the nation’s longest LPG pipeline, stretching from the coast of Gujarat all the way to the Eastern side of Uttar Pradesh.
A major 2,000 km link that will bring gas supply for domestic use to cities such as Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Allahabad, Varanasi and Lucknow to mention a few.
India is also planning to build the world’s highest bridge over the Chenab river. The deck height will be at 359 metres, for a stretch of 1.3km across. The arc’s length will be an incredible 480 metres.
The bridge will connect strips of land that are currently taking hours to cross on wheels.
Another crucial bridge will be the one arcing over Mumbai’s harbour. The proposed project, known as Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is meant to make the traffic sustainable and reduce drastically the well-known congestions experienced by the buzzling hub island to Navi Mumbai on the mainland.
This bridge is not a new idea. It was actually envisioned towards the end of the last century, dating its first reference to approximately 35 years ago.
But every previous attempt to make it happen, in 2006, 2007 and 2013, did not manage to get the green light across the stakeholders involved. The total length of the link might exceed 20 km.
Near home, Oman has successfully planned long term a major infrastructure like the port of Duqm, which stands strongly in a strategic point of the ocean, simplifying and bridging logistics beyond the Arab region.
The population of Duqm, which started at merely 5,000 people in 2008, is about to reach 100,000 this year. A great leap that was made possible by the extraordinary ability of planning, developing and managing the structure.
Tourism facilities have started blooming all around Duqm, making it not only a logistic hub, but possibly a fully functional city with tourism attractions and services.
In 2018 India’s Prime Minister Modi visited Duqm and expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the Sultanate of Oman for the breathtaking achievement, recognising how the port could serve as India’s entry point to Africa.
The visit strengthened the bond between India and Oman, sharing not only economic interests, but also similar visions in terms of development of logistics and infrastructure.
Lastly the new airport in Muscat, an infrastructure that I witnessed beginning a few years ago, counting a 200 thousand square metres of logistic area with facilities for air freight as well as office space, offering world-class environment to airlines from all over the world.
The total area of the new airport spreads across a stunning 3.3 million square metres, making it one of the world’s latest airports and one of the most modern in the world.