‘Fraternal’ Myanmar, India for closer links

Both sides see India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway an opportunity for industrial cooperation

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:27 pm IST

Published - November 11, 2014 11:03 am IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein during a meeting at Presidential Palace in Myanmar on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein during a meeting at Presidential Palace in Myanmar on Tuesday.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmarese President Thein Sein met at Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of this eastern neighbour of India, on Tuesday, the big focus of discussions was improving connectivity between what they called “brother countries.”

The two leaders spoke about the need for more direct air links, as well as an India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, and the Kaladan multi-modal transport project. The two nations are now not connected by direct flights. They signed an MoU for a bus service between Imphal and Mandalay only this year.

“Both sides see the trilateral highway as an opportunity for industrial cooperation and sought to explore the possibility of setting up industrial parks along the highway. President Thein Sein said that as India grows and develops, Myanmar will also benefit. The possibility of India investing in special economic zones in Myanmar was discussed,” said a press release.

India, Myanmar to raise bilateral trade

Although bilateral trade between India and Myanmar is well below its potential, efforts are being made to enhance it, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told presspersons on Tuesday.

Bilateral trade stood at less than $2 billion in 2013.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmarese President Thein Sein, at their meeting at Nay Pyi Taw, also discussed other economic ties and cooperation in the oil and gas sector, as well as the need for more cultural contacts, including sending Myanmarese students to Nalanda University.

The meeting was one of more than 20 bilateral ones Mr. Modi is scheduled to have during his 10-day, three-nation tour during which he will attend the ASEAN-India summit, the East Asia Summit and the G-20 and Pacific Island Leaders-India summits.

During the tour, he is expected to engage with leaders of 40 countries.

On Wednesday, Mr. Modi will meet Myanmar democracy icon and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as well as leaders of Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore.

He will also attend the ASEAN-India summit with 10 other countries, where a free trade agreement is being discussed. “ASEAN is at the core of our Act East Policy and at the centre of our dream of an Asian century, characterised by cooperation and integration,” Mr. Modi said in a statement earlier.

On Thursday, Mr. Modi will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for the first time, in a structured bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit. The meeting comes nearly two months after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Delhi. They are expected to review progress in ties based on their announcem-ents during the visit.

In particular, sources said, Mr. Modi will speak about India’s concern over “incursions” by the People’s Liberation Army into the Line of Actual Control.

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