India woos a "changing" Myanmar | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India woos a "changing" Myanmar

delhi Updated: Oct 15, 2011 01:15 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Rolling out a red carpet to Myanmar President U Thein Sein and an entourage including 13 ministers and chief of general staff, India warmed up to firm up its ties with Myanmar.

New Delhi strengthened security-ties, scaled up energy cooperation, rolled out $500 million --- the biggest ever line of credit to Myanmar-- as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praised the ongoing efforts at political economic and social reforms in the only ASEAN country that shares a land boundary with India.

As both sides held discussions over two-hours, India offered help to further strengthen its transition into democracy “in an inclusive and broadbased manner.

Security cooperation was top on the agenda during the talks as Myanmar that shares land boundary with four northeastern states is also a haven for many ant-India insurgent groups.

The two leaders agreed on enhancing effective cooperation and coordination between the security forces of the two countries in tackling the deadly menace of insurgency and terrorism, said a joint statement issued after the meeting.

The presence of chief of General Staff Lt Gen Hla Htay Win, minister for border affairs and Myanmar Industrial Development Lt. Gen Thein Htay amply made clear the importance of security ties in the bilateral relationship.

Since it had lost valuable time because of its antipathy to engage junta, India made all right noises and moves to ensure it doesnt repeat the same mistakes with a changing Myanmar.

Lauding the ongoing efforts at political, economic and social reform in Myanmar, Singh expressed readiness to share India's own experiences in evolving parliamentary rules, procedures and practices.

According to sources, the Indian side also appreciated Myanmar government's efforts to reach out to Aung San Suu Kyi.

The significance of the two recent developments in Myanmar, the release of 200 political prisoners, a move welcomed by the west, and Myanmar suspending the works of a major dam being built by China were not lost in the visit either.

Prime Minister Singh announced a US $500 million line of credit to Myanmar for specific projects, including irrigation projects.

Issues of trade and transit figured substantially in the discussions.

Both the leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of oil and natural gas. Myanmar agreed to encourage further investments by Indian companies, both in public and private sector, in the oil and natural gas sectors, said the joint statement.