Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 28, 2012
Nay Pyi Taw: India today announced that it will provide a $500-million line of credit to Myanmar as the two countries signed agreements on a range of sectors, including air services, beginning a “new journey” of bilateral cooperation.
On the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Myanmar in quarter of a century, Dr Manmohan Singh held “broad-ranging” discussions with the Myanmar President, Mr Thein Sein, on a roadmap for bilateral cooperation and said New Delhi was committed to Myanmar’s economic development.
A Memorandum of Understanding for India’s $500-million credit line was signed between Export-Import Bank of India and Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank.
The line of credit was agreed upon in October last year when the Myanmar President had visited New Delhi.
Air services pact
The two countries also signed an air services agreement and an MoU on establishment of a joint trade and investment forum and setting up of border trade centres across the border of India and Myanmar.
The Prime Minister told Mr Thein Sein that connectivity remains a major thrust area in India-Myanmar relations while capacity-building in Myanmar was a major priority for India’s development assistance to this country.
India pledged to double the training slots of Myanmarese personnel in India.
“We have embarked on a new journey of bilateral cooperation”, Dr Singh told Mr Thein Sein, adding “we are committed to strengthening our economic and development partnership’’.
Dr Singh told Mr Sein that India was ready to share with Myanmar its experience of Parliamentary democracy and “we wish you all success in your nation-building efforts and changes you are bringing about,” according to the MEA spokesman, Mr Syed Akbaruddin.
Border area development
The MoU relating to India-Myanmar Border Area Development envisages Indian assistance to set up schools, community areas and health centres across the border.
India has successfully tried this model of development in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and is going to replicate it for Myanmar, Indian officials said.
The agreement on border area development has important implications for security concerns of India as economic prosperity in those areas is expected to address the issue of insurgency.
Myanmar shares a 1,640-km border with four north-eastern Indian states — Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh — whose insurgents often take shelter across the border.
The agreement on much-talked about passenger bus service between Imphal and Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, could not be signed as Myanmar Cabinet is yet to clear it, sources said.
Among 12 agreements signed today are those between Calcutta University and Dagon University in Yangon on cooperation in research, an MoU for setting up Myanmar Institute of Information Technology, establishment of Advance Centre for Agriculture Research and Education in Nay Pyi Taw, setting up of border ‘haats’ and a bio park in Nay Pyi Taw, on cooperation between Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses and Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies (MISIS) and between Indian Council of World Affairs and MISIS.
The signing of the agreements cap wide ranging and extensive talks between the Prime Minister and Mr Thein Sein on the second day of Dr Singh’s visit.