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India, Myanmar to start border trade through Mizoram

IANS  |  Aizawl 

India and Myanmar would soon start formal border trade through the northeastern state of Mizoram, a senior state government official said here on Wednesday.

"India's Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman will inaugurate a land customs station (LCS) at Zokhawthar in Champhai district (in eastern Mizoram) on March 25 to start the formal border trade with Myanmar," an official of Mizoram's commerce and industry department said.

He said: "Myanmar's Commerce Minister U. Win Myint is expected to be present at the inaugural function as both the Indian and Myanmar ministers would jointly inaugurate the LCS."

The LCS in Zokhawthar, in eastern Mizoram bordering Myanmar, is ready to facilitate trade with the neighbouring country.

Mizoram has an unfenced international border of 510 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh. The Border Security Force guards the Bangladesh border and troopers of the Assam Rifles are posted at the Myanmar border.

Sitharaman will arrive in Aizawl on March 24 and, accompanied by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, will proceed to Zokhawthar the next day to inaugurate the LCS there.

The official said India and Myanmar, at the 5th India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee meeting in Nay Pyi Taw last month, had agreed to enhance trade and investment between the two countries by removing bottlenecks such as lack of good connectivity and banking arrangements.

The meeting was co-chaired by commerce and industry ministers of the two neighbouring nations.

The India-Myanmar bilateral trade stood at USD 2.18 billion in 2013-14.

Sitharaman, who visited Tripura recently to inaugurate a 'Border haat' (market) in southern Tripura bordering Bangladesh, said: "India is setting up international-standard multi-purpose integrated check posts along its borders with Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan to increase trade and business with the neighbouring countries."

"The Border haats are being set up along the India-Bangladesh border to increase trade of local produce of both the nations," she added.

In Mizoram, four locations have been identified for the setting up of 'Border Haats' along the border with Bangladesh.

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First Published: Wed, March 18 2015. 14:52 IST