Myanmar minister talks tough against insurgents operating from its soil [Imphal Free Press]

NEW DELHI Oct 15 (MIC): In a significant development, Myanmar on Friday took a strong stand against insurgents operating from its soil adjacent to India’s Northeast and committed not to allow its soil to be used by forces inimical to interests of India.

This was conveyed by Myanmar’s minister for Border Affairs and Industrial Development Lt. Gen Thein Htay during his meeting with union minister for DoNER, Paban Singh Ghatowar, here on Friday. The same was reiterated during the bilateral talks Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had with visiting Myanmar President U Thein Sein.

“Both sides have reaffirmed their unequivocal and uncompromising position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” said a joint statement issued after the delegation-level meeting.

The statement further said both sides had agreed on enhancing effective cooperation and coordination between the security forces of the two countries in tackling the menace of insurgency and terrorism. Both sides also underscored the need to strengthen institutional mechanisms for sharing intelligence to combat the menace of insurgency, arms smuggling and drug trafficking.

In this context, both the countries discussed matters relating to further strengthening of border management mechanisms. The two leaders reiterated and resolved not to allow their respective territory to be used for training, sanctuary and other operations by terrorist organisations and their operatives.

Ghatowar informed the Myanmar minister had readily agreed to an invitation to visit the Northeast. Besides internal security, cooperation in enhancing cross-border connectivity through road, railways and waterways was discussed during the meeting, he said.

The Prime Minister and the President of Myanmar reiterated their shared commitment to strengthening and broadening the multi-faceted relationship.

While acknowledging that both sides have a responsibility to promote peace, security and stability in the region, they emphasized the need to intensify economic, social and developmental engagements in order to bring about all round socio-economic development and inclusive growth.

The two sides reviewed the infrastructure development and cooperation projects that are being undertaken in Myanmar with technical and financial assistance from India, including those related to roads, waterways, power, health, education and industrial training, telecommunications, and others.

Both the countries signed several agreements.

India and Myanmar expressed satisfaction at the pace of implementation of Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project, especially the port development and Inland waterways.

It was also decided to open an additional Land Customs Station/border trade point on the India-Myanmar border to allow smooth flow of goods generated by Kaladan Project. Both sides reiterated their commitment for an early implementation of the Rhi-Tiddim Road Development Project with grant assistance from India.

Reviewing the progress in establishing trilateral connectivity from Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar, it was noted that substantial progress had been achieved in preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for roads and causeways in Myanmar.

The two sides agreed to promote trade, investment and economic cooperation in a sustainable manner. With a view to promoting border trade, two sides agreed that meetings between Indian and Myanmar officials of customs, immigration, border chambers of commerce, officials of bank branches at the border, border trade officials (Tamu and Rhi –OSS Team) and Government officials would take place at Tamu-Moreh and Rhi-Zowkhathar at regular intervals.

It was agreed to consider opening up new border trading points along the border for the economic uplift of the people of the area. It was also agreed to consider better functioning of the existing points and facilitate movement of people and goods between the two countries.

Both the countries underscored the need for energy security and expressed satisfaction at ongoing bilateral cooperation in the area. They agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of oil and natural gas exploration, a facility denied to India earlier at the behest of China.

Both sides agreed to examine commencement of ferry services on Kolkata-Yangon and Chennai-Yangon routes. They also agreed for operating flights between the two countries.

India agreed to the request of the Government of Myanmar to facilitate allocation of land in Bodh Gaya for setting up a Buddhist monastery for use of pilgrims and monks from Myanmar. Ghatowar pointed out that there is cooperation between Myanmar and the N-E region in respect of religious tourism given the presence of a sizeable Buddhist population in the region.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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