WHILE PRIME Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said close coordination to ensure security in areas along the India-Myanmar border and sensitivity to each other’s strategic interests would help both nations, Aung San Suu Kyi, the visiting State Counsellor and Foreign Minister of Myanmar, stated that her aim was to bring peace and stability to Myanmar and beyond.
After two hours of “productive” talks, Modi said, “As close and friendly neighbours, the security interests of India and Myanmar are closely aligned. We have agreed that a close coordination to ensure security in the areas along our border and sensitivity to each other’s strategic interests will serve the interests of both our countries.”
In June last year, India had conducted cross-border operations against insurgents in Myanmar. In an oblique reference to that, the India-Myanmar joint statement said, “Both sides underlined their mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and reaffirmed their commitment to fight insurgent activity and the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
The two sides signed three agreements to boost cooperation in power, banking and insurance sectors and decided to step up ties in areas of oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy and healthcare.
“You are no stranger to the people of India. The sights, the sounds and vibrancy of Delhi are familiar to you. Welcome back to your second home,” said Modi, calling Suu Kyi an “iconic leader”.
Suu Kyi responded, “We have been trying to bring peace to our country for decades. We hope that time has come for us to be able to say we have made the breakthrough…For this, too, we look up to India with its experience of federalism to teach us how we bring all our people into the process and to be part of our search for peace, stability and enduring federalism.”
Modi said India’s nearly $1.75 billion of development assistance was being utilised in line with the priorities of the Myanmar government and its people.
Stating that India would develop a Varietal Development and Seed Production Centre in Yezin, he added, “We will also work to develop a mutually beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses. We have offered to scale up the power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar. We will also partner in a pilot LED electrification project at a site designated by the Government of Myanmar.”
Regarding her meeting with business leaders, Suu Kyi said she urged them to invest in “trust” to boost trade. “We are behind India in the field of development and in the field of politics. But we are confident that we will be able to make up for the lost time.”