Myanmar gave “firm assurances” to India on Tuesday that its territory will not be used for anti-India activities, as their Foreign Ministers held a series of “positive and constructive” meetings with focus on cooperation in security, energy and agriculture.
External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, who is a on a three-day visit to the country to talk and understand the “priorities and thinking” of the recently formed civilian government, held bilateral talks with the country's Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
On the issue of security cooperation, sources said Myanmar had reiterated their “firm assurances” that the country's territory would not be allowed to be used for any anti-India activities.
Security cooperation has been a major part of India-Myanmar relations because of the long border that it shares with four northeast States. Many insurgent groups operating in the area are known to take advantage of the thick jungles along the border in Myanmar to take refuge.
Mr. Krishna also called on Vice-President U Tin Aung Myint Oo in the evening besides holding meeting with the country's Minister for Electric Power.
“The talks were excellent, positive, constructive and forward looking,” a member of the Indian delegation said when asked about the bilateral meetings held.
While the meetings were a bid to foster strategic and economic ties between the two neighbours, sources said a number of issues with regard to cooperation in the field of health and agriculture were also discussed.
India also congratulated Myanmar for successful elections held in the country which saw the formation of the first civilian government in years.
Help from India
India has in principle agreed to modernise the children's hospital in Yangon by supplying the latest modern equipment besides others. Talks are also on building a state-of-the-art general hospital in Sittwe with Indian help, sources said.
Extending a helping hand to cyclone-prone Myanmar, India handed over 10 modern and disaster-proof rice silos built at a cost of $2 million to preserve grains during natural calamities. Mr. Krishna inaugurated the silos, having a combined capacity of 5,000-tonne storage.
While cooperation in the agriculture field is an ongoing phenomenon, sources said a team from the Ministry of Agriculture led by agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan would soon be visiting Myanmar to understand the country's needs and the possible help that can be extended.
India has already agreed to provide a grant of $10 million for procurement of agricultural tools, besides providing 100 computers to the Central Land Records, as requested by Myanmar. Sources said discussions were also held on setting up an Agricultural Research Centre in Yezin.
Meanwhile, India has agreed to send a team from the Archaeological Survey of India to render its services in the restoration of 11th century Ananda temple in Bagan in Mandalay region.
On the economic side, both countries expressed happiness at the rapid growth of trade but noted that there was also a large untapped market, sources said.