Ansari heads to Myanmar Thursday

February 4th, 2009 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) India and Myanmar are set to consolidate their burgeoning ties in sectors ranging from energy and industry to security and infrastructure when Vice President Hamid Ansari goes on a four-day visit of the Southeast Asian nation Thursday. The two countries will sign a slew of agreements in the industry, transport and telecommunication sectors.

They will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up an industrial training centre in Myanmar while another pact will be inked on Tata Motors and the Myanmar government setting up a joint venture for a truck manufacturing unit in that country. The funds for the truck unit will come from a $20 million credit line India has given to Myanmar.

Another pact will be signed on establishing a Centre for English Language Training in Myanmar to equip students, civil servants, businessmen and professionals with language skills.

The cooperation in the telecom sector will be in focus when Ansari inaugurates an optical fibre link between Mandalay and Kolkata.

“The visit of the vice president to Myanmar is taking place in the context of an increasing engagement between India and Myanmar. Our relations are rooted in shared historic and cultural ties,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement here Wednesday.

Ansari will visit the capital Nay-Pyi-Taw, Yangon and Mandalay. He will call on Senior General Than Shwe, who is the chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), and his counterpart, Vice Senior General Maung Aye, the vice chairman of the SPDC.

The two sides will discuss bilateral issues, including enhanced cooperation in combating anti-India insurgents some of whom are said to have shifted their base to Myanmar.

Minister of State for Defence M.M Pallam Raju and three members of parliament will accompany Ansari on this important visit. Top executives of leading Indian companies like SAIL, HMT, NHPC, BHEL, Tata Motors, ONGC Videsh Ltd, Essar, GAIL and TCIL will also be part of the business delegation accompanying the vice president.

The visit will underscore India’s growing engagement with the Southeast Asian country, where it lacked presence not too long ago.

China is miles ahead of India in terms of its bilateral trade and close rapport it enjoys with the Mayanmar junta, but India is now making up for lost decades by focusing on scaling up ties in economic, energy, transport and infrastructure sector.

“Our relations with Myanmar have become a truly multi-faceted one, with cooperation in a range of developmental and other projects in the areas of roads, power, hydrocarbon, oil refinery, transmission lines, telecommunications and IT,” the ministry statement said.

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