Marking a historic visit to Myanmar, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 25 years, Manmohan Singh held extensive talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein, drawing up a roadmap for future course of bilateral ties.
After their talks, the two countries signed a raft of agreements to boost energy supplies from resource-rich Myanmar to energy-hungry India, enhance trade and cross-border rail, shipping and road links that go beyond bilateralism to cover Thailand.
However, the agreement on the much-talked about passenger bus service between Imphal and Mandalay, Myanmars second largest city, could not be signed as Myanmar Cabinet is yet to clear it, sources said.
After being greeted with a ceremonial guard of honour here, Singh first held restricted talks with President Sein and then the two leaders led their sides to a larger format of discussions that saw them undertaking a comprehensive review of the bilateral ties and outlining a roadmap for the future.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Export-Import Bank of India and Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, India will extend to Myanmar a concessional credit line of $500 million which will be utilised in infrastructure development projects, including in agriculture, irrigation, rail transport and power in Myanmar, said a joint statement issued after Singh-Sein talks held at the Presidential Palace.
During the meeting, Singh also announced an annual assistance of $25 million over the next five years for all-round economic development of border areas in Naga Self Administered Zone and Chin province of Myanmar bordering northeastern Indian states of Nagaland and Mizoram. PTI
Indian officials said meeting the developmental needs of Myanmars border areas will go a long way in addressing Indian security concerns as several northeastern Indian insurgent groups, including ULFA, NSCN (K), operate out of the territory of Myanmar.
Briefing media persons, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai
said the Prime Minister raised the insurgency issue in the
context of India's security concerns, to which the Myanmar
President vowed that no Indian insurgent or terrorist would be
allowed to use his country's territory to target India .
The joint statement said "both leaders reaffirmed their
shared commitment to fight the scourge of terrorism and
insurgent activity in all its forms and manifestations and
emphasised the need for enhanced cooperation between security
forces and border guarding agencies for securing peace,
security and stability in the border areas." (More) PTI PAL
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"Both the leaders reiterated the assurance that
territories of either country would not be allowed to be used
for activities inimical to each other, including for training,
sanctuary and other operations by terrorist and insurgent
organisations and their operatives," the statement said.
The substantive outcome of the Prime Minister's visit was
reflected in the signing of 12 agreements between the two
governments and state-backed entities. Three more agreements
involving the Indian private sector were also inked.
One agreement relates to air services under which even
private carriers of India could fly their services to Myanmar
and it has a provision which will allow the flights of the
airlines of the two countries to pick up passengers from
Myanmar on their way to destinations in third countries of
South East Asia and elsewhere, which could make the services
more attractive, Mathai said.
As India eyes to tap large untapped potential gas and oil
resources of Myanmar, India n private company Jubilant Energy
signed an agreement with two Myanmarese entities, including a
state-owned, to explore oil in an onshore block on Irrawady
delta, not far from Yangon, which would add to its capacity as
the company already has an offshore block in its kitty.
Besides, the Foreign Secretary said, India is looking at
energy-scouting opportunities for its companies as "we believe
Myanmar has a very large untapped potential for gas and oil".
Pointing out that Myanmar was the first country to
explore and find oil in this region, Mathai said "if more gas
and oil blocks emerge, the old idea of an energy pipeline from
Myanmar to India could be revived".