India and Myanmar on Monday reviewed all matters related to their bilateral ties, including the Rohingya refugee crisis, and signed a crucial memorandum of understanding for the appointment of an operator of port that will boost connectivity.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale called on Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, during the course of which all matters relating to bilateral cooperation as well as matters pertaining to international and regional matters of common interest, including development in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, were discussed.
After meeting Suu Kyi, Gokhale called on Transport and Communications Minister U Thant Sin Maung and discussed matters related to connectivity and transport infrastructure being developed by India in Myanmar.
Following the meeting, Gokhale and U Win Khant, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communications, signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the appointment of a private port operator for the operation and maintenance of Sittwe Port, Paletwa Inland Water Terminal, and associated facilities that are part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project.
The project connects Sittwe Port with Mizoram.
“This is a significant step in the implementation of India’s Act East Policy, as its signing will enhance Myanmar’s connectivity including with India and add to the development of the whole region, particularly in the Rakhine and Chin states of Myanmar,” the MEA statement said. “It would also add to local infrastructure capacity and help in creating more job opportunities for the local people.”
Following this MoU, the process of identifying bidders to maintain these facilities will be initiated by floating a request for proposal.
During his visit, Gokhale also called on the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.