New Delhi: Growing relations of India with Myanmar is important in many ways from security to connectivity. During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Myanmar from May 10 to May 11, 2018, boundary and border related issues, peace and security matters, developments in the Rakhine State including return of displaced Rohingyas, India's development assistance to Myanmar, ongoing projects, and other issues of mutual interest were discussed in detail.
She called on President of Myanmar U Win Myint and had met State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. During the bilateral meetings, Swaraj also met the Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
One of the most important issues that both the countries reached on an agreement was on Land Border Crossing which is being considered as a landmark in bilateral relations between the two countries. It will enable people from both the countries to cross the land border with valid passport and visa for accessing health, education services, pilgrimage and tourism. The MoU on restoration of pagodas at Bagan underlines the enduring cultural and historical links between the two countries. The other MoUs on technical assistance and capacity building reflect India's continuing support to Myanmar in accordance with this country's own development plans and priorities.
The External Affairs Minister reiterated India's readiness and commitment in helping Myanmar to address issues related to Rakhine State. She welcomed Myanmar's continued commitment to implementing the Rakhine Advisory Commission's recommendations and noted that under the aegis of the bilateral Rakhine State Development Programme, India was already in the implementation stages of various projects that would respond to the needs of different sections of the Rakhine State population. The first major project is the construction of prefabricated housing in Rakhine State to meet the needs of displaced persons. The Minister also underlined the need for safe, speedy and sustainable return of displaced Rohingyas to Rakhine State.
The ministry informed that total seven agreements and MoUs have been signed. They included: (i) Agreement on Land Border Crossing, (ii) MoU on Restoration and Preservation of Earthquake Damaged Pagodas in Bagan, (iii) MoU on assistance to the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, (iv) MoU on Training of Myanmar Foreign Service Officers, (v) MoU on Setting up Industrial Training Centre (ITC) at Monywa, (vi) MoU on ITC at Thaton and (vii) Exchange of Letters on extending a maintenance contract for ITC Myingyan.