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Kalam's six-day visit to Myanmar, Mauritius begins on March 8

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 6 (UNI) Not shying away from engaging the millitary junta, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam will become the first Indian President to visit Myanmar, which has remained hermetically sealed from the outside world, to pursue a dialogue on long-term economic relationship between the two countries including modalities aimed at plugging infiltration routes in the north-eastern states.

As part of India's 'Look East Policy'', Dr Kalam leaves on a six-day tour of Myanmar and Mauritius on March 8.

The President is scheduled to hold discussions with top military brass, including the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) chairman Senior General Than Shwe, on the entire gamut of bilateral issues, including gas pipeline and trade route that link India with the ASEAN.

The visit, at the invitation of Senior General Shwe, would mark ''culmination of the upswing in bilateral relations in recent years'', official sources said.

This also marks the highest-level visit from India to Myanmar after Rajiv Gandhi travelled to Yangon in December 1987.

Interestingly, Dr Kalam will be making his first visit to a neighbouring country since assuming office in July 2002.

During his stay in Yangon, Dr Kalam will address professors and students at Yangon University, interact with scientists, intellectuals and school children as well as pay respects at the historic Scwe Dagon Pagoda and at the mausoleum of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II.

This will be followed by a visit to Bagan and Mandalay, a cultural and religious centre of Buddhism having more than 700 pagodas.

From Yangon, the President travels to Port Louis, the capital of Indian Ocean country of Mauritius to be the chief guest at its National Day celebrations on March 12.

During his stay in Mauritius, he will meet President Anerood Jaugnauth and other leaders and interact with them on consolidation of economic relations, particularly in the IT and investment sectors.

Dr Kalam's itinerary in Mauritius also includes an interaction with scientists and CEOs of IT companies during his three-day stay to the country.

An agreement is slated to be signed with the Telecommunications Consultants of India Ltd, which will be integrated with the Pan-African e-network project, an initiative of the Indian President.

UNI SMA/SKS AK BD1722

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