Trade, connectivity top PM’s Myanmar agenda

May 24th, 2012 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Manmohan Singh goes to Myanmar Sunday on a three-day visit, the first trip to the Southeast country by an Indian prime minister in a quarter century, during which the two countries are expected to seal new initiatives to expand trade, connectivity and energy cooperation.

Manmohan Singh will meet pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon Tuesday and invite her to visit India. Suu Kyi has not travelled to any foreign country or outside of Myanmar in the past 24 years.

Announcing the visit Thursday, the external affairs ministry said that the prime minister will be accompanied by his spouse Gursharan Kaur, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and senior officials. A delegation of Indian business leaders will also visit Myanmar around the same time.

Manmohan Singh will hold discussions with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues Monday in the capital Nay Pyi Taw.

A slew of accords is expected to be signed after the talks. These could include a revised aviation agreement to scale up the number of flights between the two countries. India is also likely to announce a fresh line of credit for development projects in the oil-rich country. There is also a plan to open a bus route from Imphal to Mandalay.

Manmohan Singh will speak on the theme “India and Myanmar: A Partnership for Progress and Regional Development” at a function organised by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute.

A visit to the historic Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mazar of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor of India, in Yangon are among important highlights of the prime minister’s itinerary in Myanmar.

Manmohan Singh’s visit to Myanmar takes place against the backdrop of the unfolding democratic transition in the Southeast Asian country.

India has taken positive note of the Then Sein government’s steps towards democratic reforms and national reconciliation in Myanmar. In his talks with Myanmar’s leaders, the prime minister is expected to underline India’s full support for bolstering the democratic transformation in that country.

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