NEW DELHI, Feb 28: A high-level Myanmar delegation led by Chairman of Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) U. Than Htay and former Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh and discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest to the two nations.
The prevailing situation in the region and the significance of Myanmar in the context of the North Eastern Region of India also came up for discussion.
During over half-an-hour meeting, Dr Jitendra Singh referred to the friendly ties between Myanmar and India which are reinforced by deep civilizational and historical linkages. He said, not only does India share over 1,600 kms of border with Myanmar, but the North Eastern Region of India and Myanmar’s Chin, Kachin and Sagaing areas share common ethnic, linguistic and cultural characteristics.
Referring to the Act East Policy envisaged by the Modi Government, Dr Jitendra Singh referred to areas of collaboration between the two countries. He said, on the 8th of August last year, a major decision was taken to enhance connectivity with Myanmar by opening two International entry-exit checkpoints along the Myanmar border at Tamu-Moreh and Rihkhawdar-Zokhawthar.
In addition Dr Jitendra Singh said, a Motor Vehicles’ Agreement is also proposed between the two countries, which would enable both passenger as well cargo traffic to move across the borders. The operation of bus service between Mandale and Imphal in Manipur could also be planned to enhance and facilitate the movement of people from two sides, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to a host of debt-free developmental projects being implemented by India in Myanmar. In addition to major infrastructure projects, he said, a large number of small projects have also been undertaken by India in partnership with the Myanmar Ministry of Border Affairs under the aegis of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP). The Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project is possibly one of the most significant projects undertaken by India and Myanmar, he added.
Chairman USDP, U. Than Htay expressed his country’s solidarity with India and keenness to learn from India’s experience and expertise. He said, the Indian experience in building institutions of federalism and models of resource sharing could be useful for Myanmar to build its structure and institutions.
Indian and Myanmar share a unique connection via the Northeast and North-West respectively, and therefore, the development in the region is conducive for both the countries, he said.