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Monday, April 06, 2020

India, Myanmar ink pact on bus service, developing Rakhine

According to the joint statement, the two sides will start coordinated bus service between Imphal and Mandalay on April 7. Bus operators on both sides have already signed the agreement.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: February 28, 2020 2:45:49 am
Myanmar President India visit, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Narendra Modi, India-Myanmar relations, India Myanmar border, Indo Myanmar bus service, India Myanmar land crossing, Indo Myanmar highway proposal, Indian express President Ram Nath Kovind, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar’s First Lady Daw Cho Cho at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

Bus service between Manipur’s Imphal and Myanmar’s Mandalay, more Rakhine state development programme projects, medical radiation equipment for treatment of cancer patients, cooperation on petroleum, including in refinery, stockpiling, blending and retail — these are some of the major takeaways as visiting Myanmar President U Win Myint met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The two sides on Thursday signed 10 agreements with a focus on socioeconomic development of Myanmar.

According to the joint statement, the two sides will start coordinated bus service between Imphal and Mandalay on April 7. Bus operators on both sides have already signed the agreement.

India’s assistance in the construction of Integrated Check Point at Tamu, Myanmar, bordering Manipur, will also be done. For ease of people-to-people movement across the border at Moreh Tamu, the two countries signed the Land Border Crossing Agreement in 2018, which allowed bona fide travellers with valid document to cross the border at two international points of entry/exit: Moreh-Tamu and Zokhawathar- Rih.

India will offer medical radiation equipment Bhabhatron II for treatment of cancer patients, and strengthen cooperation in the health sector. The two sides also agreed to have government-to-government cooperation in petroleum, including in refinery, stockpiling, blending and retail.

They also decided to extend the Quick Impact Project schemes to Myanmar. Under this, India takes up capacity development work in the form of small projects which yield quick beneficial results for the local people.

On the side of governance, India will help Myanmar with the project of e-ID cards, which is modelled after the Aadhaar project.

The two sides decided to provide more projects to Rakhine State Development Programme. India had committed $25 million grant assistance to Myanmar over a period of five years and phase-I involved completion of 250 prefabricated house in Rakhine State.

The two sides also expressed commitment to continue negotiations on various pending treaties like Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and Extradition Treaty. India will also support establishment of Myanmar’s diplomatic academy, and extend National Knowledge Network to Myanmar.

Win Myint, who arrived in India on Wednesday, received a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He and First Lady Daw Cho Cho were welcomed by President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi.

They also reiterated Indo-Pacific concept, as both sides agreed to work together to promote principles of openness, inclusiveness, transparency, respect for international law and ASEAN centrality in Indo-Pacific.

The agreements included an MoU on ‘Cooperation for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons; Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Re-Integration of Victims of Trafficking’. An agreement regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QIP) was also signed between the two sides. Three agreements for development projects in the conflict-torn Rakhine state were also signed during the president’s visit. The Rakhine state has witnessed a lot of violence in the past and scores of Rohingyas had fled the state facing persecution.

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