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President Kalam arrives in Myanmar

The Indian President was accorded the red carpet welcome and given a 21-gun salute.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 16:51 IST

President APJ Abdul Kalam arrived in Yangon on Wednesday on the first leg of his two-nation visit seeking to engage Myanmar's military regime to forge closer and substantive economic ties and chalk out modalities for plugging the routes for insurgents infiltrating into India's north-east region.

Kalam, who became the first Indian President to visit Myanmar, was received by State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Chairman Senior General Than Shwe at the airport.

He was accorded the red carpet welcome and given a 21-gun salute.

As part of India's 'Look East Policy', Dr Kalam is to discuss with the top military brass, headed by Senior General Than Shwe, the entire gamut of bilateral issues, especially a trilateral gas pipeline involving Myanmar and Bangladesh and a trade route that links India with the ASEAN.

Kalam, who is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and some other senior officials, will seek to engage Myanmar's military junta in tackling the problem of insurgency in India's north-east region and forging a long-term strategy in the hydrocarbon sector to meet its growing needs for energy.

The visit, at the invitation Senior General Than Shwe, marks the culmination of upswing in bilateral relations in recent years between the two countries.

It also marks the highest-level visit from India to Myanmar late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi travelled to Yangon in December 1987.

Interestingly, this is Dr Kalam's first visit to a neighbouring country since taking office in July 2002.

In 2003, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat led a delegation to Myanmar. This was followed by SPDC Chairman Senior General Than Shwe and wife Daw Kyaing making a state visit to India in October 2004.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 12:08 IST