Narendra Modi conveys to Myanmar India's commitment to deepen ties

New Delhi, July 15: Underlining Myanmar's importance for peace and stability in the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday conveyed to it India's commitment to deepen ties in all key areas including security, a month after Indian Army carried out a counter-insurgency strike along the Indo-Myanmar border.

During a call on by visiting Myanmarese Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, Modi also told him that India attaches "highest priority" to its ties with Myanmar.

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India committed to Myanmar: Modi

Reaffirming India's position as a reliable partner in Myanmar's development, Modi said India attached the highest priority to its relations with Myanmar.

He also conveyed India's commitment to deepen the bilateral relationship in all areas, including in political, economic and security spheres and people-to-people contacts.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar were also present in the meeting.

Lwin is here to co-chair, along with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, the first meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission tomorrow which will deliberate on entire gamut of ties including defence cooperation.

His visit comes over a month after Indian Army carried out a counter-insurgency offensive along the Indo-Myanmar border following the killing of 18 army troopers in an ambush by NSCN (Khaplang) militants in Manipur.

Sources said Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar's Defence Services is expected pay a visit here soon, indicating that defence cooperation between the two countries is likely to expand further.

Myanmar, considered one of India's strategic neighbours, shares a 1,640 km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

India attached the highest priority to its relations with Myanmar: Modi

The Indian delegation will include officials from a number of ministries including Defence and Home besides top brass of External Affairs Ministry. Lwin briefed Modi on progress in bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, health and development projects.

Modi also called for greater bilateral collaboration in agricultural technology, research and energy sector. Accepting the invitation extended by President U Thein Sein, Modi said that he looked forward to an early visit to Myanmar.

He also fondly recalled his visit to Myanmar in November 2014 to attend the East Asia and ASEAN Summits. Last month, Doval and Jaishankar had held comprehensive talks with Sein and top defence brass on security cooperation.

The JCC has been constituted under the Protocol on Consultations between the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar signed in January 2003.

There has been steady expansion of bilateral trade from USD 12.4 million in 1980-81 to USD 1.92 million in 2012-13.

India's imports from Myanmar are dominated by agricultural items while India's main exports to Myanmar are primary and semi-finished steel and pharmaceuticals.


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