As Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday India reiterated that it shares Myanmar’s concerns over the ‘extremist violence’ in the Rakhine state. The Prime Minister also expressed hope for a solution to the violence that respects the country’s unity. PM Modi’s first bilateral visit to Myanmar comes at a time when the Myanmarese government is facing international pressure over the 125,000 Rohingya refugees that have poured across the Bangladeshi border in just two weeks after Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state. Also Read: Myanmar’s Suu Kyi denounces terrorists, silent on Rohingya exodus
Here is what was discussed in the meeting between the two leaders:
1. PM Modi announced, among other things, that India will grant gratis visa to Myanmarese citizens wanting to visit the country. “I am pleased to announce that we have decided to grant gratis (no-cost) visa to all the citizens of Myanmar who want to visit India,” he said.
2. The Prime Minister also said India has decided to release at least 40 Myanmarese citizens, currently lodged in various jails in India. Also Read: Rohingya Muslims protest at Jantar Mantar, raise slogans against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi
3. “We would like to contribute to Myanmar’s development efforts as part of our ‘Sabka saath sabka vikaas’ initiative,” said PM Modi.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 6, 2017
4. The Prime Minister also reiterated that India is willing to forge a deeper relationship with Myanmar in context of the ‘Act East Policy’.
5. PM Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi vowed to combat terror and boost security cooperation with Modi emphasising that it was important to maintain stability along the long land and maritime borders of the two countries.
6. 11 agreements were signed between the two sides in areas such as maritime security, strengthening democratic institutions in Myanmar, health and information technology.
7. Suu Kyi also took a strong stand on terror when she said: “Together we will ensure that terror is not allowed to take roots on our soil or on the soil of neighbouring countries.” She also thanked India for taking a strong stand on the terror threat that Myanmar faced recently.
8. On the violence in Rakhine, Prime Minister Modi said: “We share your concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state and the violence against security forces and also how innocent lives have been affected. We hope that all stakeholders together can find a way out in which unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar is respected.”
9. Modi arrived here on the second leg of his two-nation trip after he travelled to the southeastern Chinese city
Xiamen where he attended the annual BRICS Summit.
10. This is Modi’s first bilateral visit to Myanmar. He had visited the country in 2014 to attend the ASEAN-India Summit.
11. The meeting between Suu Kyi and PM Modi came on a day she was quoted as telling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that global outrage over Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslims was being fuelled by “a huge iceberg of misinformation”.
12. The Myanmarese president and Suu Kyi had visited India last year. Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.
13. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today also visited the famous early 12th-century Ananda Temple in Myanmar’s ancient city Bagan which is being renovated with India’s assistance after it was damaged in a tremor last year.
(With PTI inputs)