Historical ties put India, Myanmar on path of shared development

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Myanmar coexists peacefully with other countries and maintains good relations with them. We respect our relations with our neighbours and prioritize national development. Among our neighbours, we can say India has the longest history of relations with us, as both countries simultaneously flourished in religion and culture over thousands of years.
Myanmar is situated between China and India, both powerful countries, and has maintained good relations with them, while working to promote the living standards of our people. People from both Myanmar and India are friendly and affectionate towards one another and national leaders from both sides continue to strengthen cooperation.
Leaders from Myanmar and India have exchanged visits through successive governments. Diplomatic relations have been maintained in the civilian government’s administration as well. Based on the shared history and close relations between the leaders and the people, we can prioritize our border region administration and develop our commerce and trade even further.
There are good opportunities in Myanmar and India’s economic relations. Myanmar’s lentils sell exceptionally well in India’s market. If we can upgrade our transportation, communications, and infrastructure, which are vital components of bilateral trade, then border trade would grow exponentially.
India is the father of democracy among the democratic countries of the world and maintains a gentle understanding of Myanmar as an emerging democracy. Myanmar has much to learn from India’s experiences. We are India’s link to Southeast Asia in its Look East policy. India is partnering with Myanmar on the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, connecting the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with the Sittway seaport in Rakhine State. The Kaladan river project aims to facilitate faster transportation between Assam, Manipur, Tripura, and Nagaland with Myanmar’s border areas.
Over the past two decades, successive Indian governments have made assiduous efforts to reach out to Myanmar, realizing its strategic importance, especially in the context of India’s regional ties.
The late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Myanmar in 1987, but the real opening up of relations took place in the early 1990s, during the government of Narasimha Rao. As the architect of India’s Look East Policy, he realized that India needed to adopt a more sensible and realistic approach towards Myanmar.
Economic relations between the countries were thus initiated, and a trade agreement signed in 1994 gave a strong initial stimulus to the relationship. Incumbent Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s immediate predecessor, Dr. Manmohan Singh, visited Myanmar in 2012 with a 25-member business delegation. It was a reasonably successful trip, with the signing of 12 MOUs, including a US$500 million line of credit, a deal to establish Indo-Myanmar border huts, an agreement for increase in airline services, and assistance for setting up centers for research in information technology and agriculture.
Myanmar and India’s bilateral trade reached $3 billion in 2016. If the Moray-Tamu border trade is outfitted with better systems and services, it will result in much positive growth. India is currently Myanmar’s 11th largest investor. However, much of its investment is concentrated in the power sector and it does not have much presence in other sectors.
As Myanmar and India extend their diplomatic relations while staying true to their shared history, they will pave a path for further strengthened national development and bilateral relations.

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