India, Myanmar to work on making border peacefu

March 10th, 2008 - 11:55 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) India and Myanmar Monday expressed the desire to work on making their common border a region of peace and harmony to reap maximum economic benefits. “India and Myanmar have expressed a strong desire that the common border between the two countries should be a region and symbol of peace and harmony so that the benefits out of various infrastructure projects and economic cooperation between the two countries can be fully realized,” India’s home ministry said in a statement.

This understanding was reached at the 14th National Level Meeting between India and Myanmar, which began here Friday and concluded Monday. Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta led the Indian delegation while Brigadier General Phone Swe, deputy minister for home affairs, led the Myanmar delegation.

At this meeting, issues of mutual concern including those related to security, drug trafficking and border management came up for discussion. Both sides have agreed to work closely for achieving the stated objectives and discussed various institutional mechanisms to strengthen security cooperation.

India and Myanmar have close and friendly relations going back to many decades. The two countries share a border of around 1,650 km. India-Myanmar bilateral relations reflect the multi-dimensional and traditional linkages between the two countries.

Myanmar figures prominently in India’s ‘Look East policy’ initiated in the early 1990s by then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. The policy seeks to maintain good relations with its Southeast Asian neighbours.

However, there have been some nagging issues between the two countries, which have been taken up by India from time to time. In the past India has pressed for return of democracy in Myanmar that has been under military junta-rule for many years.

India has also demanded the release of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for several years and has been fighting for the return of democracy in her homeland.

There have been some border issues between the two countries. These include smuggling of arms across the border and refuge taken by terrorists in the neighbouring country after committing acts of terror here.

General Brigadier Swe also called on Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who recalled the strong and close bonds between the two countries and emphasized the importance of strengthening cooperation in the areas of security and border management.

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