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India, Myanamar to expand security, economic ties

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Resolving to expand security ties, and Myanmar today decided to boost cooperation in a vast range of areas including guarding the 1,640-km-long border even as the two traditionally close neighbours asserted that the States which encourage, support or finance must be hold accountable.

The two sides inked three pacts to enhance ties in power, and sectors after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Modi and Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi while sectors like oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy and health care were identified for deeper engagement.

The Prime Minister told Suu Kyi that will stand with Myanmar with full support and solidarity in the country's new journey towards democracy and development while noting that the security interests of both the neighbours are closely aligned.

"We have agreed that a close coordination to ensure security in the areas along our border, and sensitivity to each other's strategic interests, will serve the interests of both our countries," Modi said in a press statement in presence of Suu Kyi.

In her comments, the Myanmerase leader invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and said Myanmar drew huge inspiration from the two Indian leaders in its struggle for democracy and was looking for India's support for the country's development aspirations.

The Prime Minister said it was agreed to enhance bilateral engagement in several areas incluidng agriculture, power, renewable energy and power sector.

A joint statement said State State Counsellor Suu Kyi condemned the Uri terrorist attack while Modi condemned the recent armed attacks against three border posts in the northern part of Rakhine State.

"Both sides condemned in all its forms and manifestations as well as all acts, methods and practices of wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed and agreed that the fight against terrorism should target terrorists, hold to account terror organisations, networks and also states that encourage, support or finance terrorism in any way," it said.

It said terrorism is "first and foremost" a violation of human rights and that there can be no justification for extending support, financing, provision of material resources or training to terrorists who destroy innocent lives.

The two countries also called for the expeditious finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN.

"Both sides shared the view that maintaining security along the border is essential for the socio-economic development of the border area.

"In this regard, both sides underlined their mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reaffirmed their shared commitment to fight insurgent activity and the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," the statement said.

The two countries expressed commitment not to allow insurgent groups to use their soil for hostile activities against each other and stressed the need to resolve outstanding boundary demarcation issues as soon as possible.

Myanmar shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of North Eastern states including militancy-infested Nagaland and Manipur. has been raising with Myanmar the issue of several North East militant outfits having training camps in that country.

It was that the border guarding forces on both sides would further coordinate and exchange information.

Welcoming Suu Kyi, the Prime Minister described India as her second home and assured that "India and its friendship will stand with you in full support and solidarity."

"You are no stranger to the people of India. The sights, the sounds and vibrancy of Delhi are familiar to you. Welcome back, Excellency, to your second home!

"Excellency, you are an iconic leader," he said. Suu Kyi had done her graduation from Delhi University.

Modi said both sides will also work to develop a mutually

beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses.

"As a reliable partner and friend, India stands shoulder to shoulder with you," said Modi. Effusive in his praise, Modi said, "Your clear vision, mature leadership, struggle and eventual success in establishing democracy in Myanmar has inspired people across the world.

"Let me assure you, Excellency, that as you lead Myanmar to become a modern, secure, economically prosperous and better connected nation, India and its friendship will stand with you in full support and solidarity."

The joint statements said both sides agreed to coordinate, through diplomatic channels, the setting up of immigration facilities at the Tamu-Moreh and Rhi-Zowkhathar border crossing points for easy movement of people.

It said India also agreed to support Myanmar in creating police training infrastructure and to share expertise in developing training manuals, including in forensics and cyber-security.

The Myanmarese side invited Indian companies to participate in competitive tenders for petrochemical and petroleum products, marketing infrastructure and the setting up of LPG terminals.

Calling the talks "extensive and productive", Modi said India has a robust development cooperation programme with Myanmar and that India's nearly USD 1.75 billion of development assistance is being utilised in line with the priorities of Myanmarese government and its people.

The Prime Minister said India will develop a Varietal Development and Seed Production Centre in Yezin in Myanmar to enhance the quality of seeds.

Suu Kyi said the new Myanmerese government wants to significantly deepen engagement and expand existing cooperation with India, asserting that the intention is to "depend on each other".

It is Suu Kyi's first visit to India after her National League for Democracy wrested power from the military junta in a landmark election earlier this year. Suu Kyi, who could not become Myanmar's President due to a constitutional provision but has full control over the government, holds the position of State Councillor and Foreign Minister.

Suu Kyi's visit here came nearly one-and-half months after Myanmerese President U Htin Kyaw visited India.

First Published: Wed, October 19 2016. 20:07 IST