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Joint Statement during the visit of Chairman, State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar

July 27, 2010

  • At the invitation of the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the Head of State of the Union of Myanmar, Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar, is paying a State Visit to India from July 25- 29, 2010. The Chairman is accompanied by his wife Daw Kyaing Kyaing. Apart from his official engagements in New Delhi, Senior General Than Shwe will also visit places of economic, historical and religious interest.
  • This visit is a part of a series of high-level contacts that India and Myanmar have had over the past few years. These include visits by Vice Senior General Maung Aye, Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar, in April 2008 and Shri M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India, in Fe/bruary 2009.
  • In New Delhi, Senior General Than Shwe was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 27 July 2010. He was received by the President of India, who hosted a banquet in his honour.
  • Shri M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India, Shri S. M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister and Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition called on Senior General Than Shwe.
  • Senior General Than Shwe had a meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, which was followed by delegation level talks. The meetings and exchanges were positive and marked by cordiality on both sides.
  • India and Myanmar are close and friendly neighbours linked, inter alia, by civilizational bonds, geographical proximity, culture, history and religion. Apart from a boundary that stretches over more than 1640 kilometers and borders four North-Eastern states of India, there is a large population of persons of Indian origin in Myanmar. Bilateral relations are reflective of these multifarious and traditional linkages and the two countries live side by side as close neighbors based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
  • Recalling these shared bonds of civilization, the Head of State of Myanmar and the Prime Minister of India expressed their commitment to further strengthen and /broaden the multi-dimensional relationship which now encompasses a range of areas of cooperation. Enhancing economic, social and developmental engagement will help harness the considerable potential in India-Myanmar bilateral relations, which would, in turn, contribute to the socio-economic betterment of their respective peoples.
  • Recognizing that peace and stability in the region is essential for development and for the well-being of the people of their respective countries, the two leaders agreed on close cooperation between the security forces of the two countries in tackling the pernicious problem of terrorism. They agreed that security cooperation should be given immediate attention since terrorists, insurgents and criminals respect no boundaries and undermine the social and political fa/bric of a nation. Both leaders reiterated the assurance that the territory of either would not be allowed for activities inimical to the other and resolved not to allow their respective territory to be used for training, sanctuary and other operations by terrorist and insurgent organizations and their operatives.
  • Understanding that continued cooperation will lead to success in fighting the insurgency issue, the two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation and collective efforts of the two countries along the border. In this context, the two leaders welcomed the Home Secretary level talks held in Nay Pyi Taw in January 2010 and the important decisions taken in that meeting.
  • Both leaders expressed their desire for greater economic engagement. In this context, the Prime Minister of India conveyed India’s commitment to continue with developmental assistance to Myanmar. The Myanmar side expressed deep appreciation for the generous and concessionary credit facilities given by India to finance significant infrastructure and other projects. Projects that are currently underway under such aid assistance include railways, road and waterway development, power and industrial training centres, tele-communication, etc. The Indian side agreed to consider Myanmar’s request for assistance in the three areas namely: IT development, Industrial development and Infrastructure development in Myanmar which will lead to upliftment of the bilateral cooperation to a higher level.
  • Senior General Than Shwe and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh welcomed the considerable enhancement of the connectivity between the two countries. In this context, they welcomed the progress made by M/s Inland Waterways Authority of India towards implementation of the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project and reiterated their respective Governments’ commitment to this project. In particular, they welcomed the finalization of the contract for port development and Inland waterway with M/s ESSAR. It was also agreed that the scope of the project with respect to the road component would be revised. The road component between Paletwa and Myeikwa on the India border would be executed by the Myanmar Ministry of Construction with M/s IRCON.
  • The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the construction, maintenance and repair work by Indian Border Roads Organization of the Tamu-Kalaywa-Kalemyo Road connecting Moreh in Manipur to Myanmar and the handing over of most of the segments of the TKK Road to the Government of Myanmar.
  • To enhance road connectivity, especially through the State of Mizoram, both leaders announced the construction and revamping of the Rhi-Tiddim road at a cost of more than US$ 60 million to be financed through grant assistance from India. The Myanmar side expressed its appreciation for this gesture.
  • Both leaders emphasized the need to enhance cooperation in the area of agriculture. The Indian side announced a grant of US$ 10 million for procurement of agricultural machinery from India. The leaders expressed the hope that this machinery will help enhance productivity in Myanmar’s agricultural sector, which is the mainstay of its economy. The Myanmar side also requested for technical assistance in manufacturing of agricultural machinery.
  • The Indian side also announced a project to set up rice silos to facilitate disaster relief operations particularly in the cyclone prone delta areas, with grant in aid from India.
  • The Myanmar side expressed appreciation for India’s generous assistance in the relief and rehabilitation efforts that followed the devastating Cyclone Nargis which hit Myanmar in May 2008. He noted that the assistance from India, which included dispatch of a large medical contingent to work in cyclone affected areas as well as providing immediate medical and food supplies, supply of GI sheets, 16 electricity transformers, 20 biomass gasifiers and funds for restoration work on the holy Shwedagon pagoda, was timely and catered to Myanmar’s urgent requirements.
  • Both leaders identified the power sector as an area of growing cooperation. In this context, the two leaders agreed to cooperate in the implementation of the Tamanthi and Shwezaye projects on the Chindwin River Basin in Myanmar. They welcomed the involvement of M/s NHPC in carrying out the much required additional investigations after the signing of the MoU on Cooperation in Hydro-power Development projects in the Chindwin River Basin in September 2008. Subject to the findings of these additional investigations, the two leaders will endeavour to conclude the Memorandum of Agreement within a year.
  • The Myanmar side conveyed their gratitude for India’s line of credit of US$ 64 million in the transmission lines sector to be executed through M/s. PGCIL. Both leaders also noted the need to provide for inter-grid connectivity between the two countries. They agreed that the two countries shall cooperate in this area, including generation of electricity from renewable sources, and, where necessary, set up joint projects or corporate entities for that purpose.
  • The Myanmar side welcomed the interest of Indian companies in the mining sector. They promised all necessary assistance to enable these companies to explore such opportunities.
  • The Indian side agreed to explore possibilities for cooperation in the field of solar energy and wind energy in Myanmar. They also agreed to offer Myanmar, training in related fields.
  • Cooperation in the energy sector is poised for greater growth, especially in the area of oil and natural gas. Both leaders emphasized the importance they attach to energy security which has a direct bearing on the welfare of the peoples of the two countries. They expressed satisfaction at the ongoing bilateral collaboration in exploration and production in Myanmar’s petroleum sector and agreed to encourage further investment by Indian companies both public and private, in this sector.
  • The Myanmar side welcomed the substantial additional investment by ONGC and GAIL for the development in the upstream and downstream projects of Myanmar offshore blocks A-1 and A-3 including the natural gas pipeline under construction at Ramree in Myanmar.
  • In the field of telecom, following the successful functioning of the official Fi/bre link between India and Myanmar via Moreh, the two leaders agreed to upgrade the microwave link between Moreh to Mandalay under a line of credit of US$ 6 million from India. Further, a new Optical Fi/bre Link between Monywa to Rhi-Zawkhathar will also be undertaken with Indian assistance.
  • The Myanmar side thanked India for its continued assistance through renewal of the agreement to provide IRS-P5 and Cartosat Data through Antrix.
  • The two leaders agreed to encourage collaboration between Myanmar and India in the area of Information and Communication Technology.
  • Recalling India’s earlier assistance in supplying railway rolling stock, machineries and equipments to Myanmar, both leaders agreed to further cooperation in the railway sector. The Indian side extended a line of credit of US$ 60 million to procure railway equipment.
  • The two leaders noted with satisfaction that the project being undertaken by TATA Motors to set up a heavy turbo truck plant at Magway is proceeding well and encouraged other Indian companies to enter into the industrial sectors in Myanmar. The Myanmar side assured that current investment proposals by private Indian companies in Myanmar would be actively facilitated.
  • The two leaders welcomed the expansion of trade and commerce between the two countries manifest in the increase in the volume of trade to more than US$ 1 billion per annum. They agreed that trade at border trade points should be further enhanced to boost the immense potential that exists in bilateral trade. This would also directly benefit the North-East States of India.
  • Referring to the existing border trading points at Moreh - Tamu (Manipur) and Zawkhathar-Rhi (Mizoram) as well as the additional point agreed to be operationalised at Avankhug-Somra (Nagaland), the two sides agreed to put in place the necessary infrastructure to make these points viable and business friendly.
  • The two leaders welcomed the establishment of direct banking links between India and Myanmar following the signature of the correspondent banking relationship agreement between United Bank of India and Myanma Foreign Trade Bank, Myanma Economic Bank and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank for providing banking arrangements relating to upgrading of border trade to normal trade. They encouraged the business community to make optimal use of this arrangement and thus enhance direct trade transactions.
  • The two leaders encouraged to conduct business meetings to be held alternately in both countries for trade promotion. They noted that such measures can help build /bridges at the business level and promote business and commercial opportunities.
  • In recognition of the close and friendly tourism cooperation between India and Myanmar and cooperation under the frameworks of ASEAN+India and BIMSTEC, the two sides agreed to further promote tourist contacts. The Myanmar side thanked India for the facilities and courtesies being extended to Myanmar pilgrims visiting India.
  • Both leaders welcomed the proposal for the restoration of the historic Ananda temple in Bagan to be undertaken with the assistance of the Archaeological Survey of India, with the involvement of the Ministry of Culture of Myanmar.
  • Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the ongoing implementation of the MoU for cooperation in Buddhist studies and the related work plan agreed to between the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Myanmar and the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara University. Several hundred Myanmar Buddhist scholars and monks are currently studying in this university in various disciplines.
  • The Myanmar side expressed gratitude to India for its numerous HRD initiatives in Myanmar which included setting up of the following:
    • the Myanmar-India Centre for English language Training;
    • the Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre;
    • the India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT Skills; and
    • the Industrial Training Centre in Pakokku.
  • The Myanmar side also indicated that the training offered by India under the ITEC and TCS schemes have been valuable for scholars and Government officials in Myanmar. The Indian side agreed to offer more opportunities for higher studies and training in Universities and training institutions in India to scholars from Myanmar.
  • The Myanmar side informed the Indian side about developments in Myanmar including the groundwork for elections scheduled towards the end of the year. The Indian side thanked the Myanmar side for the detailed /briefing and emphasized the importance of comprehensively /broad-basing the national reconciliation process and democratic changes being introduced in Myanmar.
  • While discussing international developments, the two sides emphasized the importance of an effective multilateral system, centred on a strong United Nations, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. In this context, they stressed the urgent need to pursue the reform of the United Nations including the Security Council, to make it more representative, credible and effective.
  • The leader of Myanmar reiterated Myanmar’s support for India’s bid for the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. He also conveyed its support to India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the term 2011-2012.
  • The two leaders also emphasized the importance of India and Myanmar to work together in the cause of regional cooperation. The Indian leadership offered its good wishes to Myanmar for a successful term as BIMSTEC Chair, a responsibility that it assumed in 2009. The Indian side welcomed participation of Myanmar at the 16th SAARC Summit as an Observer for the first time.
  • The two sides expressed satisfaction at the ongoing cooperation between India and Myanmar under the ASEAN-India Summit Relations and welcomed the implementation of the ASEAN-India FTA. The Myanmar side appreciated India’s support for building an ASEAN Community in 2015, and to the Vientiane Action Programme including the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and other sub-regional growth initiatives such as Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Initiative and EAS cooperation. Myanmar side recognized that ASEAN-India Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation which was signed in 2003 has played a significant role in strengthening the Dialogue Partnership. Myanmar being a natural /bridge between ASEAN and India, the Indian side reiterated its intention of building upon the commonalities and synergies between the two countries to advance its Look East Policy.
  • In the above context, both leaders reiterated their commitment to undertake the tri-lateral connectivity from Moreh in India to Moe Sot in Thailand via Myanmar. The Indian side agreed to take up the preparation of DPRs for roads and causeways in Myanmar to realize this project.
  • During the visit, the following documents were signed;
    a. Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
    b. MOU regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of Small Developmental projects.
    c. MoU on Information Cooperation
    d. Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Science & Technology
    e. MoU on Conservation and Restoration of Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar
  • Senior General Than Shwe thanked the President of India and the Indian Government and people for the warm and gracious hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during their stay in India.
  • Senior General Than Shwe also extended a warm invitation to the President and Prime Minister of India to visit Myanmar at a mutually convenient time. The President and Prime Minister of India thanked him and accepted the invitation with great pleasure. The dates for the visit would be decided by mutual consultations through diplomatic channels.

New Delhi
July 27, 2010

 

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