India, Myanmar to take joint steps against cross-border insurgency

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New Delhi, Nov 24 (UNI) India and Myanmar have agreed to step up cooperation to combat cross-border insurgency and arms smuggling and stressed the need for greater vigilance at the border between the two countries.

The decision taken at the ninth Foreign Office Consultations between the two countries, held in Yangon, is significant as some insurgent groups active in India's Northeast, operate from the jungles of Myanmar bordering Northeast, major among these is Khaplang faction of Naga insurgents--the NSCN (K).

Myanmar has earlier assured India that it would not allow any anti-India activities from its soil.

''The discussions covered a wide range of bilateral issues, including security and border issues, trade and economic cooperation and cooperation in cross-border developmental projects, IT, Energy, Power and Education and Training,'' a spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry said here today.

Both countries stressed the need for greater vigilance at the border and agreed to enhance security cooperation to combat insurgent groups and arms smuggling, he said.

The two sides also welcomed the decisions taken during the 3rd Joint Trade Committee held in October which included converting Indo-Myanmar border trade into normal trade, opening of a border trade point at Avakhung in Nagaland and expanding the existing border trade items from 22 to 40.

Both sides expressed willingness to enter into an arrangement for long-term purchase of pulses from Myanmar.

The two countries appreciated the strengthening of cooperation in the areas of Energy and Oil and Natural Gas and expressed satisfaction at the recent signing of an MoU on the development of Tamanthi and Shwezay Hydropower Projects on Chindwin River in Myanmar.

Other projects in the power sector include the renovation of the Tahtaychaung Hydropower Project, construction of transmission lines, replacement of transformers damaged during cyclone Nargis, supply of biomass gasifiers and solar lamps.

India announced waiver of the ban on wheat export to Myanmar for 950 tonnes.

India also welcomed Myanmar joining SAARC as an Observer and its taking over BIMSTEC Chairmanship in 2009.

Both countries expressed satisfaction at the close engagement between India and ASEAN.

The Indian side at the talks held on November 22-23, was led by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and the Myanmar side by Deputy Foreign Minister U Kyaw Thum, the External Affairs Ministry said. .

Both the delegations expressed satisfaction at the close and friendly relations between the two countries and emphasised the need to maintain the momentum in bilateral ties.

They welcomed the exchange of several high-level visits from both sides, including that of Vice Senior General Maung Aye, Vice Chairman of State Peace and Development Council in April, and Prime Minister General Thein Sein in November this year for the BIMSTEC Summit. .

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