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PM Modi announces gratis visa for Myanmar's citizens

PM met Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and discussed ways to cement bilateral relations

Agencies  |  Nay Pyi Taw 

Modi, Myanmar
Glimpses from the ceremonial welcome and the bilateral meeting of PM Modi with President U Htin Kyaw of Myanmar

Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday granted gratis visa to all Myanmar citizens who want to visit

Gratis visa is granted to diplomats and officials, UN officials travelling on duty or those travelling to on the invitation of the of as its guest.

Modi also shared its concerns with Myanmar over the situation in the country's Rakhine state where the army has launched a crackdown on the Rohingyas, triggering a mass exodus.

"We share your concerns about the extremist violence in Rakhine state and violence against security forces and how innocent lives have been lost," Indian Prime Minister Modi said in a joint address to the media along with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi following delegation-level talks between the two sides here.

"We hope that all stakeholders can together find a way out in which unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar is respected," Modi said. "At the same time, we can have peace, justice, dignity and democratic values for all."

Suu Kyi is under mounting international pressure to stop the alleged human rights violations against the Rohingyas, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar.

Thousands of Rohingyas are crossing over into Bangladesh -- where they are sparingly given refugee status -- to escape from the violence in Rakhine state. Media reports quoted the UNHCR spokesperson in Bangladesh as saying that at least 123,000 Rohingyas have crossed over in the past few days.

The latest exodus began on August 25, after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts in Rakhine leading to a violent offensive by the Myanmar Army.

Meanwhile, has said that it would deport all Rohingyas living in the country illegally but the country's Supreme Court has said that it will hear on September 11 a plea seeking a direction to the central not to deport about 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees back to Myanmar.

Earlier in the day he Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the two leaders discussed ways to further cement the bilateral relations.

"Prime Minister Modi and Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi meet in Myanmar, discuss further cementing of India-Myanmar relations," PMO said in a tweet.

"Meeting a valued friend. Prime Minister Modi with the State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

and Myanmar were also looking at strengthening existing cooperation in areas of security and counter- terrorism, trade and investment, infrastructure and energy, and culture, Modi had said ahead of his visit.

Modi arrived here on the second leg of his two-nation trip during which he travelled to southeastern Chinese city Xiamen where he attended the annual BRICS summit and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.

This is Modi's first bilateral visit to Myanmar. He had visited the country in 2014 to attend the ASEAN-Summit.

The Myanmarese president and Suu Kyi had visited last year.

Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

First Published: Wed, September 06 2017. 10:59 IST