A week after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Nay Pwi Taw, the President of Myanmar, U Htin Kyaw is in New Delhi. The first overseas visit by Kyaw, who took office in March this year, is seen as India's attempt to bolster its outreach to the neighbouring country which recently elected its first democratic government after decades of Junta rule. India has conveyed full support to the internal peace process in Myanmar. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has already travelled to Beijing, will participate in the Outreach Summit between BRICS and BIMSTEC partners in Goa in October.
India is particularly concerned about the insurgency in the North East and insurgents crossing over to Myanmar to evade arrest. Both the countries share a 1600-kilometre long border. "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, President and I agreed to work together for the safety and security of our people. And, actively cooperate to combat the common challenges of terrorism and insurgent activity in our region," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement.
An important part of the Act East policy, India is also concerned about the slow pace of work on the Trilateral Highway project which connects India, Myanmar, and Thailand. Both the countries signed four Memorandum of Understanding including two on the upgradation of roads which form part of this ambitious project. One MoU pertains to the construction and upgradation of the bridges and approach road in Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa section of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar while the other one is on
cooperation in the Construction/Upgradation of Kalewa-Yagyi road section of the highway.
The two countries released a joint statement. Here are the highlights:
- The Indian leadership also expressed support to the national reconciliation and peace process of the government of Myanmar under the "21st Century Panglong Conference".
- Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen bilateral security and defence cooperation, and reaffirmed their shared commitment to fight the scourge of terrorism and insurgent activity in all its forms and manifestations. Both sides reiterated their commitment to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the other and to continue practising the policy of not allowing any insurgent groups to use their soil for hostile activities against the other side. They emphasised the need for enhanced cooperation between security forces and border guarding agencies for securing peace, security and stability in the border areas, which is crucial for overall development.
Referring to the ongoing discussions between the two sides on maritime security, both sides agreed that Maritime Security Cooperation in the Bay of Bengal is vital for both countries.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the implementation of Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project. The two sides agreed that the completed facilities at Sittwe and Paletwa should be operationalised by December 2016 and the modalities of their operation and maintenance be finalised by the two sides at the earliest. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the signing of two MoUs pertaining to the implementation of India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway project.
Both sides agreed that an arrangement for supply of pulses from Myanmar to India would be in the mutual interest of Myanmar farmers and Indian consumers. They encouraged Indian companies to cooperate with Myanmar farmers in order to improve the quality of pulses production and thus ensure better marketability of the produce in India.
The President of Myanmar thanked India for the power supply that commenced from India across the Moreh-Tamu border on 8 April 8 2016. Both sides will consider infrastructure strengthening of the transmission network to increase supply in future and resolved that the proposed MoU between India and Myanmar on Cooperation in the field of Power should be negotiated at the earliest.
The Indian side invited Myanmar to participate in the International Solar Alliance Initiative, which is intended to allow solar resource-rich countries to address their special needs and collaborate to reduce costs and improve generation capacity.
The two sides also discussed on setting up immigration facilities at the Tamu-Moreh and Rhi-Zowkhathar border crossing points at an early date.
Recognising that terrorism is one of the most serious threats to the international peace and security, and underscoring that there can be no justification whatsoever for acts of terrorism, the two sides called for further strengthening of the international legal regime to combat terrorism, and in this context, called for early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism presently being negotiated in the United Nations. Myanmar side reiterated its support for India's efforts to become a permanent member in an expanded and reformed UN Security Council.