To examine the feasibility of establishing railway links

India sought to consolidate its ties with Myanmar by offering an additional $500-million line of credit, agreeing to resolve border issues and step up energy and trade links.

During a meeting between President of Myanmar U Thein Sein, a former Prime Minister and now head of an elected civilian government, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, both sides agreed to examine the feasibility of establishing railway links, accelerate work on two hydel projects in Myanmar and reviewed progress on a route into the North-East which would supplement India's sole link to that part of the country via the Chicken's Neck (Siliguri Corridor).

Officials said the approach was similar to the one that New Delhi has followed with its neighbours such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal — addressing each other's security concerns and building linkages in power, telecom and interconnectivity by road, air, railways and sea.

In security, they sought to build on the understanding reached with Mr. Sein's military predecessor Than Shwe in July last year by agreeing to enhance the effectiveness of coordinated operations on either side of the border through better intelligence sharing. Survey wings of both governments will jointly work out a schedule for refurbishing and repairing boundary pillars in a time-bound manner.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Sein also touched upon the Moreh-Mae Sot road that would connect India and Thailand via Myanmar. This would open up a direct road link between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) besides accelerating the 10-nation grouping's plans for the Mekong-Ganga corridor, one of the three identified to enhance connectivity and industrial activity.

In an indication of the importance attached to the visit and the sectors both sides focused on, the Prime Minister was assisted by Home Minister P. Chidambaram, besides Ministers for External Affairs, Petroleum, Power, Commerce and Industry, Science and Technology and Defence (Minister of State).

This was the first State visit to India following the swearing in of a new government in Myanmar in March 2011.

India, with a preference for friendly persuasion over imposing sanctions, welcomed Myanmar's progress towards an open and democratic framework.

The two sides agreed to step up cooperation in oil and natural gas with discussions touching on new gas pipelines.

In tune with its policy with other countries, South Block has sought to involve bordering States by agreeing to enhance cultural exchanges with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, all sharing borders with Myanmar.

India also agreed to increase training slots for Myanmar students and set up more I.T. training centres.

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