Krishna arrives on 3-day visit to Myanmar, aims to boost trade | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Krishna arrives on 3-day visit to Myanmar, aims to boost trade

In a bid to foster strategic and economic ties with an important neighbour, external affairs minister SM Krishna arrived on Monday on a three-day visit to Myanmar. Jayanth Jacob reports.

delhi Updated: Jun 21, 2011 00:22 IST
Jayanth Jacob

In a bid to foster strategic and economic ties with an important neighbour, external affairs minister SM Krishna arrived on Monday on a three-day visit to Myanmar.

Krishna wants to engage with the new civilian leadership of Myanmar during his first stand-alone bilateral visit here, as the nation takes baby steps in political reforms.

For India, Myanmar holds vital strategic and security significance — as the only country it shares a land border in the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) block and also one that abuts the nations’s northeastern states. India wants Myanmar to act firmly against militant groups from the northeast, many of which consider Myanmar a safe haven.

Reversing years of the non-engagement policy, New Delhi, of late, is sparing no efforts to forge stronger and deeper ties with Myanmar after the junta came to power. The minister is accompanied by foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and other senior officials.

“The visit will give us an opportunity to further vitalise our multi-faceted relationship in the new political environment...,” SM Krishna said. “We are likely to sign a number of memoranda of cooperation to further strengthen bilateral cooperation," he added.

The two sides are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding over the Rhi-Tiddim road connecting Manipur to Tiddim in Myanmar’s Chin state, for border trade. India has also offered to cooperate with Myanmar on a trilateral highway to Thailand, besides investing $1.3 billion in a natural gas project.

‘India to discuss ISI terror links with Pak’

India will raise the issue of terror links of Pakistan’s ISI, as has been revealed by Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley, when the foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet later this week in Islamabad.

This was said by external affairs minister SM Krishna said in New Delhi on Monday. Krishna also said that India will keep pursuing the issue of extradition of Dawood Ibrahim.

“Whatever Headley has revealed under oath in court of law in Chicago ...would certainly be taken up with Pakistan," Krishna said, indicating that terror will be the central point of the forthcoming talks.