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India-Myanmar Agree to Step up Trade and Security Ties
Sep 02, 2016

President of Myanmar, Htin Kyaw was on a three-day visit to India recently which was his first bilateral state visit after taking over as president in March at the head of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, seen as Myanmar’s first democratically elected government in five decades. The visit follows Myanmar state councillor and foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China earlier this month, during which China promised support for peace talks between Myanmar and rebels operating in the north of the country, bordering China.

Key Highlights

  • Security and connectivity issues dominated talks between Indian and Burmese leaders in New Delhi recently, with the countries signing two pacts to speed up construction of the Asian Trilateral Highway and agreeing to cooperate in efforts to fight insurgency.
  • The deals to expedite the construction of the trilateral highway, which aims to connect India with South-East Asia, along with another two agreements were signed after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Htin Kyaw of Myanmar.
  • India also offered full support and backing to the new government in Myanmar, installed in March this year, for its efforts to improve infrastructure.
  • Htin Kyaw’s visi to India came within a week of Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Naypyidaw for talks with her counterpart Suu Kyi.
  • President of Myanmar said, my current visit to India is aimed at enhancing the traditional ties of friendship between the two governments. Hethaked the people of India for supporting their ongoing reform process and efforts achieve peace and national reconciliation.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, Myanmar is a special neighbour for India for many reasons, including the linkages of religion and culture, besides being a land bridge that connects India with South-East Asia.
  • One connectivity pact signed provides for the construction of 69 bridges, including approach roads along the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa section of the trilateral highway in Myanmar.
  • The second connectivity pact involves the construction and upgradation of the Kalewa-Yagyi road section, also part of the trilateral highway.
  • The highway, which will connect India to Thailand through Myanmar, is now expected to be complete by 2020, as against the earlier planned 2017.
  • India and Myanmar were also looking at a long-term and mutually beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses.
  • After supplying power to Tamu, India was willing to substantially scale up the supply of power to Myanmar.
  • India offered support to Myanmar’s new government for developing its priority areas, including agriculture, industry and infrastructure, besides strengthening education and skilling the youth as well as building new institutions.
  • Both leaders agreed on the need to remain sensitive to each other’s strategic interests and concerns.
  • India fully supports efforts by Myanmar to end long years of unrest in its north under the Panglong Conference initiative.
  • India showed its concern about militant groups from its north-east taking shelter in Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh, as well as setting up bases there to mount attacks on India.
  • India shares a 1,640km border with Myanmar and has been raising the issue of several north-eastern militant outfits having training camps in Myanmar.
  • One of the groups that India believes is based in Myanmar is the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)’s Khaplang faction. India had signed a peace accord with a second NSCN faction in August last year.
  • The Myanmar President will be accompanied by his wife, Daw Su Su Lwin, several key ministers and senior officials. During his visit to India, the Myanmar President had official engagements in New Delhi and also visited places of historical and cultural importance.


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