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International Relations

India-Myanmar Relationship

  • 06 Oct 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

A two-day visit by the Foreign Secretary of India and the Army Chief to Myanmar completed with greater engagement between India and Myanmar.

Key Points

  • Health and Pandemic: As a part of India’s Medical or Drug Diplomacy a package of 3,000 vials of the antiviral Remdesivir given to assist Myanmar in its fight against the pandemic.
    • India has shown willingness to prioritise Myanmar in sharing Covid -19 vaccines, when available.
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity: Operationalisation of the crucial Sittwe port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state by March 2021 is committed.
    • The two sides also discussed progress in the ongoing Indian-assisted infrastructure projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project. The project will link Kolkata to Sittwe in Myanmar and then from Myanmar’s Kaladan river to India’s north-east.

  • Security: India has been concerned over some militant groups like the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) from the North-East region taking shelter in Myanmar.
    • Myanmar handed over 22 cadres of Indian insurgent groups in May 2020.
    • The maintenance of security and stability in their border areas and mutual commitment not to allow their respective territories to be used for activities inimical to each other were re-stressed.
  • Transition to Democracy: Myanmar successfully conducted the 4th meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference in Nay Pyi Taw.
    • The Union Peace Conference: 21st Century Panglong is a continuing peace conference started in 2016.
    • Aim: To have a stable political environment in Myanmar with peaceful transition into democracy.
    • Outcome of 4th meeting: The government of Myanmar and ten armed ethnic groups signed a framework agreement for the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
    • Indian Support: India assured continued support in sharing experiences in constitutionalism and federalism to assist Myanmar in its democratic transition.
  • Rohingya Issues: India came forward for support for ensuring safe, sustainable and speedy return of Rohingya refugees from refugees camps of Bangladesh.
    • Building on the progress made under the Rakhine State Development Programme (RSDP), India proposed to finalise projects under phase-III of the programme, including setting up of a skills training centre and upgrading of agricultural mechanisation.
  • Liaison Office: With the formal inauguration of liaison office in Nay Pyi Taw, India has taken one more significant step towards establishing its embassy in Nay Pyi Taw.
    • India has its embassy in Yangon, the former capital.
  • Other Highlights:
    • A bust of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Mandalay Jail is a symbolic gesture for a closer relationship and understanding mutual existence.
      • Mandalay Jail Connection: Between 1908 and 1914, he spent 6 years in Mandalay Prison for defending the actions of revolutionaries Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki.
      • Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki had tried to assassinate the District Judge, Mr. Kingsford by throwing bombs at the carriage in which he was supposed to travel.
    • Investment: With investments of over USD 1.2 billion, Myanmar has the highest Indian investment in any country in South Asia.
      • India's development cooperation in Myanmar is estimated at USD 1.4 billion.
  • Energy: The two countries are also expanding partnership in the area of energy cooperation.
    • Recently, India approved an investment of over USD 120 million in the Shwe Oil and Gas project.


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