India signs four economic agreements with Myanmar

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New Delhi, Jun 24 (UNI) India and Myanmar today signed four economic cooperation agreements, including one to facilitate greater bilateral investment, demonstrating the expanding partnership between the two countries.

The agreements were signed in Yangon, the Myanmarese capital, in the presence of the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh and Myanmar's Minister for National Planning and Economic Development U Soe Tha.

Mr Ramesh also called on Myanmar's Minister for Commerce Brig.

General Tin Naing Thein and Minister for Electric Power U Zaw Min.

The first agreement is the Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement (BIPA) designed to facilitate greater Indian investment in Myanmar and vice versa. The agreement, the 71st of its kind entered into by India, provides a framework for the resolution of disputes, for promotion and protection of investment, for extending national treatment and most-favoured-nation treatment, for repatriation of investment and returns and for entry and sojourn of technical and managerial personnel.

The second agreement is a credit line agreement between the Exim Bank of India and the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank for 64 million dollars for financing three 230 kv transmission lines in Myanmar to be executed by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.

Under another agreement between the Exim Bank of India and the Myanmar Trade Bank, 20 million dollars will be provided for financing the establishment of an aluminium conductor steel reinforced (ACSR) wire manufacturing facility to be used for expansion of the power distribution network in Myanmar.

In a fourth agreement, the United Bank of India and the Myanmar Economic Bank will provide the banking arrangement for the implementation of the border trade agreement between the two governments that takes place at Moreh (in Manipur) at present.

Mr Ramesh also took up the expansion of border trade centres to include Avangkhu and Lungwa in Nagaland, Zowkhathar in Mizoram, Pangsau Pass in Arunachal Pradesh and Behiang, Skip and Tusom in Manipur.

Further, he informed the Myanmarese Minister for Commerce that India would like to see normal trade at the border and not have it restricted only to specified items like at present in Moreh where trade in 22 specified items only is permitted.

The minisster also expressed India's interest in participating in developing the hydel power potential on the Chindwin River in that country and hoped that preliminary work on identifying and detailing these projects would commence soon.

India is already developing hydel projects in Bhutan and recently Indian private companies have won contracts to develop hydel projects in Nepal also. India's investment in hydel power in Myanmar would bring significant benefit to both countries.

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