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President Kovind to visit Myanmar from Dec 10 to 14

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

will visit from December 10 to 14 during which he will hold talks with his counterpart U and Daw Suu Kyi, the said Thursday.

Elaborating on the visit, said the and First will reach Nay Pyi Taw on December 10.

Kovind will have his first engagement on December 11 during which he will hold talks with U and Daw Suu Kyi, he said in a

Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit.

The will visit the for Agricultural Research and Education and the Rice Bio-park, both of which have been funded with Indian assistance, on December 12, Gokhale said.

Kovind and the will travel to Yangoon and lay wreath at the Martyrs Mausoleum, where Gen Aung San, father of Suu Kyi rests, on the same day. They will also visit the

The president will also interact with the surviving veterans of the (INA).

On December 13, the president will visit the and also the 'mazhar' (shrine) of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal who was exiled to and died in Yangoon.

Finally, he will visit the and inaugurate the 'Enterprise India' exhibitions in which 45 Indian companies are expected to participate.

Highlighting the importance of the visit, the said was a "close neighbour" and served as a link to

In the past three years, political, economic and defence ties with Myanmar have been on upswing with visits of top leaders to the respective countries.

The armies and navies of the two countries also participate in bilateral military drills.

Narendra Modi had visited Myanmar last year, while visited this January for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

Late last year, the two countries had signed the Rakhine State Development Programme, designed to assist the in Rakhine to build for the return of the displaced Rohingyas.

In the first phase, 250 units have been planned and through virtual means, the president will be handing over the first 50 units, Gokhale said.

Responding to a question on the issue of Rohingyas, the said, "So far as the situation in the Rakhine state is concerned, the has noted that the governments of and Myanmar have recently reached a bilateral understanding.

"Obviously, as the only country which neighbours and Myanmar, we believe it is in our interest and interest of the region that this bilateral interest is implemented as soon as possible and that the displaced persons return to their homeland as soon as possible," he said.

According to the UNICEF, as of April 2018, an estimated 6,93,000 Rohingyas have been driven into Bangladesh, of which over half of them are children, after the violence in the Rakhine state. India has over 40,000 Rohingyas.

In response to a question on the trilateral highway connecting India-Myanmar-Thailand, Gokhale said a large part of it had been completed by the governments of the three nations.

However, key bridges over some rivers and streams are under construction, he said.

"It is likely to take time because we are operating in difficult conditions, both geographically and in terms of security in some cases, because of disturbances in parts of Myanmar," Gokhale said.

On reports about insurgents from Myanmar coming to the Indian state of with IEDs and whether this issue will be raised during Kovind's visit, the said these matters are raised by India at all levels--at the local commander's level meeting and the higher level.

"This is, of course, a presidential visit and in a presidential visit, only a broad overview normally takes place. The president is not the of the country. We in some manner or the other will express concern," he said.

Gokhale added that the governments and armed forces of the two countries have a good understanding and they are able to discuss issues and resolve them.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 21:55 IST
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