India, Myanmar sign 5 pacts, to boost counter-terror cooperation

India, Myanmar sign 5 pacts, to boost counter-terror cooperation

The two countries signed five pacts after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with visiting Myanmar's military ruler, General Than Shwe, on a wide range of issues, including counter-terror cooperation, enhanced energy ties and collaboration in a string of developmental projects.

Among the pacts signed was a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters that will be crucial in enabling India get access to insurgents from India's northeast states who continue to shelter along the sprawling 1,650-km India-Myanmar border.

The treaty aims at deepening bilateral cooperation in combating transnational organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and smuggling of arms and explosives.
Increased collaboration for developing cross-border connectivity and infrastructure development figured prominently in the discussions.

The two sides also signed pacts in areas of small development projects, science and technology and information cooperation.

A memorandum of understanding on Indian assistance in restoring the Ananda temple in Bagan, a renowned Buddhist shrine and a major tourist site in central Myanmar, was also inked.

Against the backdrop of China's growing clout in Myanmar, India has rolled out the red carpet to welcome Than Shwe, who began his five-day visit to the country Sunday by offering prayers at the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar.

Than Shwe, who heads State Peace and Development Council, as the junta calls itself, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Tuesday morning.

He met Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Sawraj before sitting down for talks with the prime minister.