Expressing solidarity with the new government of Myanmar, India on Monday said it would support “all its endeavours.”
In a wide-ranging discussion with the Myanmarese President U. Htin Kyaw, who chose India as the first foreign destination after coming to power in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India would stand with Myanmar at “every step” as it opened a new chapter.
Chief among the MOUs signed by the two sides was the agreement on construction of 69 bridges, including approach roads in the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa section of the Trilateral Highway, which will establish better connectivity between India and Southeast Asia.
The other significant agreement was on the upgrade of the Kalewa-Yagyi road section.
India backs Myanmar “in all its endeavours”
India’s support to the peace process came after China scored a diplomatic victory, leading Aung San Su Kyi, Myanmar’s most powerful leader and Foreign Minister, to visit China first, avoiding India.
Monday’s talks, held at Hyderabad House, were the first high-level interaction after the democratic government came to power in Myanmar after 57 years of military rule.
At a joint press conference, Mr. Modi said: “We recognised that our security interests are closely aligned. And, we agreed on the need to remain sensitive to each other’s strategic interests and concerns. To this end, the President and I agreed to work together for the safety and security of our people. And, actively cooperate to tackle the common challenges of terrorism and insurgent activity in our region.”
The comments about security threats are significant in view of India’s recent hot pursuit strategy for dealing with rebels in the Northeast.
However, while pledging efforts against violent rebels, the joint statement promised to uphold territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
Both sides reviewed the progress on the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education (ACARE) in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw.
It will emerge as a platform for agriculture cooperation.