President Htin Kyaw of Myanmar kicked off his maiden visit to India on Monday. The leader who assumed office in March this year is on a two-day visit in India at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee.
Kyaw, who is accompanied by his wife Daw Su Su Lwin, key ministers and senior officials, was accorded a traditional welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Myanmar head of state also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Myanmar is special for us. It holds a unique position in India’s neighbourhood,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted after PM Narendra Modi met Kyaw.
“The longstanding cultural and historical linkages between our societies form a solid foundation of our ties,” @PMOIndia further tweeted.
“President (Kyaw) and I agreed to work together for the safety and security of our people. Our engagement is supporting projects in connectivity, infrastructure, capacity building education, healthcare and many other sectors,” the PMO tweeted.
A host of issues, including security cooperation, will be discussed by the two countries in a bid to boost ties.
India shares 1,643-km-long land boundary with Myanmar, besides a maritime boundary. The land boundary is with India’s four northeastern states. Indian insurgent groups have been using the Myanmar territory for long. The two countries will be looking at means to strengthen security cooperation in the areas of arms smuggling, drug trafficking, intelligence sharing and smuggling of wildlife articles. India is also keen to allay concerns over “unilateral hot pursuit of insurgents”.
India has also been offering assistance in capacity building through assistance for the police force, anti-narcotics force, wildlife crime control force and disaster management.
The Kaladan multi-mode transport project (Kolkata to Sittwe port in Myanmar and then using Kaladan river to Paletwa in Myanmar and to Mizoram) and the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway are the showcase projects that the two sides are keen to complete at an early date.
India has recently trained 20 MPs from Myanmar and has been stepping up cooperation with Myanmar in the areas of training for strengthening democratic institutions. “India is the country that can give us the best lessons on what democracy means,” the Myanmar President told external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
New areas of cooperation
Both sides may also explore new areas of cooperation. These are agriculture, especially pulses, power, renewable energy, skill development, health, education, transport and social development.