India, Myanmar enhance ties as Suu Kyi meets PM Modi

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi after their joint press statement at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi after their joint press statement at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo

On Wednesday afternoon, Myanmar’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. The two neighbouring countries agreed to enhance ties in a range of areas including security and trade.

The two sides signed three agreements to boost cooperation in power, banking and insurance sectors besides deciding to step up ties in areas of oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy and health care.

It is Suu Kyi’s first visit to India after her National League for Democracy wrested power from the military junta in a landmark election earlier this year.

India also assured Myanmar of unstinted support as the country embarks on a journey of democracy and development.

“India and its friendship will stand with you in full support and solidarity…You are no stranger to the people of India. The sights, the sounds and vibrancy of Delhi are familiar to you. Welcome back, Excellency, to your second home!” said PM Modi referring to the fact that Suu Kyi graduated from Delhi University.

In her comments, the Myanmerese leader invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and said Myanmar drew huge inspiration from the two Indian leaders in its struggle for democracy.

Myanmar is considered one of India’s strategic neighbours. It shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

Giving details of the talks, Modi said the two countries agreed to enhance engagement in several areas including agriculture, power, renewable energy and power sector.

The two countries agreed to closer coordination to ensure security in the areas along border. They also agreed upon maintaining sensitivity to each other’s strategic interests.

Calling the talks “extensive and productive”, PM Modi said India has a robust development cooperation programme with Myanmar and that India’s nearly USD 1.75 billion of development assistance is being utilised in line with the priorites of Myanmarese government and its people.

“From the mega connectivity projects like Kaladan and Trilateral Highway, to projects in the fields of human resource development, healthcare, training and capacity building, we are sharing our resources and expertise with Myanmar,” he said.

The Prime Minister said India will develop a Varietal Development and Seed Production Centre in Yezin in Myanmar to enhance the quality of seeds.

“We will also work to develop a mutually beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses. We have offered to scale up the power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar. We will also partner in a pilot LED electrification project at a site designated by the Government of Myanmar.”

Suu Kyi’s visit to India comes nearly one-and-half months after Myanmerese President U Htin Kyaw visited India.

(With inputs from PTI)