India woos Myanmar with credit and goodies

Security and strategic concerns take precedence

 During the five-day visit of the Myanmar's military ruler Senior General Than Shwe, both countries signed a number agreements cementing their ties not only on connectivity, energy, economic and security issues but on the cultural front as well.

The Archaeological Survey of India, for instance, will help Myanmar restore the historic Ananda temple in Bagan.

Gen Shwe on Wednesday has flown to Hyderabad for a business meeting. He would be going to Jamshedpur and Kolkata before returning on Thursday.

The two countries signed a series of pacts on Tuesday, including one to strengthen security along their common border, where India is struggling to curb insurgents. Both will also strengthen their collaboration on improving road, rail and telecom connectivity, better banking relations and economic development.

New Delhi pledged $ 10 million for the purchase of agricultural equipment. Also India will set up rice silos to facilitate disaster relief operations in the cyclone-prone delta areas.

India offers a line of credit for US$ 64 million to Myanmar in the transmission lines sector which will be executed by the PGCIL. Within a year, an agreement on the implementation of the Tamanthi and Shwezaye projects on the Chindwin river basin is also expected.

Though rights activists openly criticise India for giving legitimacy to the junta government, New Delhi has little option in order to counter growing Chinese presence in close to India's eastern border.

Besides needing the military regime's help to counter the separatists along the common border, India is eyeing oil and gas fields in Myanmar and is eager to counter China's growing influence there.

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