A package of 3,000 vials of the antiviral Remdesivir, support for ensuring safe, sustainable and speedy return of Rohingya refugees, operationalisation of the crucial Sittwe port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state by March 2021, a liaison office in Nay Pyi Taw, a bust of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Mandalay Jail, and a mutual commitment to not allow activities against each other. These are some of the key takeaways of a two-day visit by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Army chief Gen M M Naravane to Myanmar.
The two met Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander in Chief of Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Gen Naravane met Vice Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Myanmar Armed Services. Shringla met U Soe Han, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar.
They presented 3,000 vials of Remdesivir to Suu Kyi, “symbolic of India’s commitment to assist Myanmar in its fight against the (Covid-19) pandemic. Shringla indicated India’s willingness to prioritise Myanmar in sharing vaccines as and when these become available”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
They agreed to work towards operationalisation of Sittwe port in the first quarter of 2021. The two sides also discussed progress in the ongoing Indian-assisted infrastructure projects such as the Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, the statement said. “The two sides discussed maintenance of security and stability in their border areas and reiterated their mutual commitment not to allow their respective territories to be used for activities inimical to each other,” the MEA stated.
The Indian side expressed appreciation to Myanmar for handing over of 22 cadres of Indian insurgent groups in May this year, it stated.
Shringla congratulated Myanmar for successfully holding the fourth meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference and assured India’s continued “support in sharing experiences in constitutionalism and federalism to assist Myanmar in its democratic transition,” the statement said.
On the issue of Rohingya refugees who have fled the Rakhine state, both sides noted the considerable progress made under the Rakhine State Development Programme (RSDP) and proposed finalising projects under phase-III of the programme, including setting up of a skills training centre. During the visit, the project agreement on upgrading of agricultural mechanisation under RSDP was signed.
Shringla conveyed “India’s support for ensuring safe, sustainable and speedy return of displaced persons to the Rakhine State,” according to the MEA statement.
A liaison office has been established in Nay Pyi Taw – the idea to establish a liaison office in Myanmar’s capital was conceived during the State Visit of President Ram Nath Kovind in December, 2018. With its formal inauguration, New Delhi has taken one more significant step towards establishing its embassy in Nay Pyi Taw.
Right now, India, like most other countries, has its embassy in Yangon, the former capital.
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