Enhanced cooperation with Myanmar: India

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Guwahati, Oct 7: India today announced its decision to intensify closer regional cooperation with the Myanmarese Military Junta.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukharjee's spelling out his Ministry's stand coincided the Myanmarese Junta' attempts to open talks with democratic leader Aung Sen Suy Kyi at Yangon.

Addressing a three-day seminar on ''India's Look East Policy - Challenges for Sub Regional Cooperation'', organised by his ministry at Guwahati this afternoon, the external affairs minister maintained that an enhanced cooperation with Myanmar would unlock the Northeast and push India's Eastern part as a whole towards the path of development.

On the occasion, he informed that Indian Government was involved in a variety of cross-border development with Myanmar in diverse fields such as roads, railways, telecommunications, IT, science and technology and power.

''These initiatives are aimed at improving connectivity between North Eastern India and Western Myanmar and we expect that this would give an impetus to the local economies as well as improve bilateral trade,'' he said.

''Probably among the most important is the Kaladan Multi - Modal Transit transport facility, which envisages connectivity between Indian ports on the eastern sea board and Sittwe Port in Myanmar and riverrine and road transport to Mizoram by providing alternate routes for transport of goods to the Northeast India,'' he said and added, ''In fact, due to importance of this project, we have decided to provide complete funding for it.'' The upgradation of the Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo Road in Myanmar across Manipur has already been completed, Discussion are also on to start working on the Trilateral Highway Project, which proposed to connect Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand via Bagan in Myanmar.

Efforts are also underway to improve the infrastructure, particularly the road links, at the second India-Myanmar border trade point at Rhi Zowkhathar in Mizoram sector by upgrading the Rhi-Tidim and Rhi-Falam road segments in Myanmar, he further informed.

''Efforts are also on to initiate a rail link from Jiribam in Assam to Hanoi in Vietnam passing through Myanmar. We are also working on enhancing digital connectivity with the region, in particular through an optical fibre cable link between Moreh in Manipur and Mandalaya in Myanmar,'' he said.

''India is also part of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation Project, which also includes Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The project s primarily aimed at the development of overland trade, tourism, communication and transport linkages,'' he said.


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