Myanmar, India to evolve fresh strategies for trade

The two nations have have failed to achieve the bilateral target of $1 billion, making it imperative for them to evolve fresh strategies.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 12:32 IST

India and Myanmar have failed to achieve the bilateral target of one billion dollar, making it imperative for the two countries to evolve fresh strategies to take the trade volume from 425 million dollars to the required level "in the shortest possible time".

A Joint Trade Committee, which was formed in July 2003, had proposed to raise the turnover to one billion dollar in three years.

It is expected to meet in New Delhi in mid-2006 to examine the ways and means for expanding the bilateral trade that is expected to increase manifold with India deciding to import natural gas from Myanmar's Arakan gas fields.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told reporters that President APJ Abdul Kalam and Myanmar's military ruler Than Shwe had directed senior officials to take all possible measures for promotion of bilateral trade.

The trade turnover was relatively modest in the mid-80s at a level of 12.4 million dollars but it witnessed a quantum jump in 2004-05 when it touched the 42.5 million mark.

For expanding economic cooperation, the Board of Trade would play an important role and India had extended 10 million dollar credit for multi-modal transport project that will develop not only a water transport but also a land route between Mizoram and Myanmar.

The Foreign Secretary has described Myanmar as "a gateway to ASEAN", and keeping it in view, discussions are on with Thailand and Myanmar for a trilateral highway connecting Moreh in Mizoram with Mae Sot in Thailand.

In the energy sector, the two countries concluded an important agreement under which four areas have been identified for cooperation.

These include export of natural gas from Myanmar to India, participation of Indian companies in exploration of offshore areas of Myanmar, construction of natural gas pipeline between India and Myanmar and participation of Indian companies in the downstream and marketing sectors along with the strengthening of information sharing on energy policies and technologies and trade.

The Indian government has also offered support to Myanmar in e-governance models in which New Delhi has the experience of connecting the Centre, States and Union Territories in the health grid and the knowledge grid.

Similarly, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has helped Myanmar in setting up a data processing centre in Yangon. India has given 1.3 million dollars assistance for upgrading this centre.

In addition, Myanmar will have access to data from the Indian Remote Sensing P-5 and P-6 satellites from this year.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 12:32 IST