India believes in sharing benefits of development with neighbours: PM

Raj Kamal Rao

Addressing Indian Diaspora in Myanmar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India believes in sharing the benefits of its development with its neighbours and also help them in the times of need.

PM referred to the launch of South Asian satellite a few months back and said its benefits were being availed of by all the neighbouring countries which had joined it. Pakistan had refused to associate with the project announced by Modi soon after he became the prime minister in 2014.

Talking about helping the neighbours, he said India was the “first responder” in the times of need and in this context, mentioned earthquake in Nepal, water crisis in Maldives and cyclone in Myanmar.

“We fulfilled the responsibility of a good neighbour,” he said.

He also mentioned the evacuation undertaken by India in West Asian nations, including those of other countries, and said, “while doing so, we do not check the colour of their passports”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing Indian diaspora

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing Indian diaspora

Underlining the need for enhanced cooperation with Myanmar and other East Asian nations, Modi, who is on a three-day visit here, said the Kaladan multimodal transport project should become a “development corridor”.

He told the gathering that the Indian government had already taken decisions to merge Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) cards and do away with police reporting for those having long-term visas among various measures for their benefit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing Indian diaspora

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing Indian diaspora

He also showered praise on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying she was always there, ready to help any Indian in trouble anywhere in the world.

“People facing problems anywhere in the world contact Sushmaji through tweets without any hesitation… I do not think there will be any foreign minister like Sushmaji anywhere in the world who actively helps the countrymen in trouble just on the basis of a tweet,” Modi said.

The prime minister, who is on his first bilateral visit, talked about the historical importance of Myanmar in the context of India’s freedom struggle.

Naming Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Rabindranath Tagore and Bahadur Shah Zafar, he said Myanmar had become the “second home” for those who had to leave their own homes during the freedom struggle.

He said communication infrastructure between India and Myanmar was being upgraded to facilitate increased trade and people-to-people contacts.

He said a road between Imphal and Moreh, the border point with Myanmar, is being upgraded at a cost of Rs 1600 crore, as part of enabling greater trade and travel between the two countries.