Krishna in Myanmar to sign infrastructure deals (Third Lead, Changing dateline)

June 20th, 2011 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, June 20 (IANS) Marking the first high-level engagement with Myanmar’s three-month-old civilian government, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrived here Monday on a three-day visit during which they sign major infrastructure and development project pacts.

Accompanied by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, Krishna flew in here from New Delhi on a special aircraft. He was received by Yangon regional Minister for Education, Health and Foreign Affairs Nyan Tun Oo and Indian ambassador V.S. Seshadri.

The new civilian government of President Thein Sein took charge March 30 after his party won the November 2010 elections.

The civilian government has replaced the military junta under Senior General Than Shwe that ruled Myanmar for over 22 years.

Krishna’s visit is looked at by India as an opportunity to engage the new civilian regime and to take stock of broad-based engagements with Myanmar.

Before leaving for Delhi, Krishna said in New Delhi: “The visit will give us an opportunity to further vitalise our multi-faceted relationship. We will exchange of views on enhancing security cooperation and collaboration in connectivity, IT, energy, agriculture, power, telecommunications and infrastructure.”

Krishna will meet the Myanmar president and the foreign minister.

The two sides will sign memorandum of understanding on a project to link India’s Manipur state with Tiddim in Chin state of Myanmar for more border trade.

India has also offered to cooperate with Myanmar on a trilateral highway to Thailand.

They will also sign an agreement setting up Myanmar’s second industrial park with Indian help. India will supply 100 computers to Myanmar’s land records department to digitalise its operations.

Myanmar is the only Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) country that India shares a land border with.

India’s interaction with Myanmar continues strongly, despite Western nations disapproving this relationship, citing poor democratic credentials of the erstwhile military junta, which is still influential.

India supported the former military rulers’ desire to carry out political reforms in the country.

The urgency shown by India to have close relations with Myanmar is also the result of increased Chinese involvement in Myanmar’s infrastructure projects such as roads, ports and power plants.

Myanmar shares a 1,642-km winding and porous border with four northeastern states of India - Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.

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