No anti-India activities from our soil: Myanmar

No anti-India activities from our soil: Myanmar

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is on a three day visit to the country to talk and understand the "priorities and thinking" of the recently formed civilian government, held bilateral talks with the country's Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.

On the issue of security cooperation, sources said Myanmar has reiterated its "firm assurances" that the country's territory will not be be allowed to be used for any anti-India activities.

Security cooperation has been a major part of India- Myanmar relations because of the long border that it shares with four Northeast states. Many insurgent groups operating in the area are known to take advantage of the thick jungles along the border in Myanmar to take refuge.

Krishna also called on Vice President U Tin Aung Myint Oo in the evening besides holding meeting with the country's Minister for Electric Power.

"The talks were excellent, positive, constructive and forward looking," a member of the Indian delegation said when asked about the bilateral meetings held.

While the meetings were a bid to foster strategic and economic ties between the two neighbours, sources said a number of issues with regard to cooperation in the field of health and agriculture were also discussed.

India also congratulated Myanmar for successful elections held in the country which saw the formation of the first civilian government in years.

India has in principle agreed to modernise the children's hospital in Yangon by supplying the latest modern equipments besides others. Talks are also on building a state of the art general hospital in Sittwe with Indian help, sources said.

Extending a helping hand to the cyclone prone Myanmar, India handed over 10 modern and disaster-proof rice silos built at a cost of USD 2 million to preserve grains during natural calamities.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, on a three day visit to the country, inaugurated the silos, having a combined capacity of 5,000 tonne storage build with the assistance of India.

While cooperation in the agriculture field is an ongoing phenomenon, sources said a team from the Ministry of Agriculture led by India's leading agricultural scientist M S Swaminthan would soon be visiting Myanmar to understand the country's needs and the possible help that can be extended.

India has already agreed to provide a grant of USD 10 million for procurement of agricultural tools besides providing 100 computers to the Central Land Records, as requested by Myanmar.

Sources said discussions are also on setting up an Agricultural Research Centre in Yezin, near to the capital.

Meanwhile, India has agreed to send a team from the Archaeological Survey of India to render its services in restoration of 11th century Ananda temple in Bagan in Mandalay region.

On the economic sides, both countries expressed happiness on the rapid growth of trade but noted that there is also a large untapped market, sources said.

Bilateral trade has expanded significantly from USD 12.4 million in 1980-81 to USD 1.2 billion in 2009-10. The trade turnover had shot up 2009-10, doubling just in two years.

India is the fourth largest trading partner of Myanmar after Thailand, Singapore and China. Both the sides also discussed ways to increase the connectivity between the two countries and took a review of the ambitious Kaladan multi-nodal transport project.

The project envisages creating an alternate route to India's northeast through land and sea route. The multi-crore project, when implemented will take off pressure from the lone trade route to Northeast states through West Bengal. On the issues of Indian investment in the country, sources said viable sectors are being identified that will be mutually beneficial for both countries.

India is the thirteenth largest investor with an investment estimated at USD 189 million in five projects. However China is the biggest investor in Myanmar with investments totalling to about USD 9.6 billion.

"A lot more can be done on the trade and economy front. We like to see more border trade happening between the two countries," a source said.

Indian and Myanmar also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for setting up an industrial training centre in Myinjyam (130 kms from Mandalay) to build capacity of Myanmar youths.

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