India's foreign minister visits Myanmar - first visit after 20 years

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    AFP: India's foreign minister visits Myanmar

    YANGON — Indian's foreign minister arrived in Myanmar on Monday for Delhi's first high-level contact with the new government in a country where it is keen to counter China's growing influence.

    Once a staunch supporter of Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, India began engaging with the ruling junta in the mid-1990s over security and energy issues.

    Underscoring the close ties, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna will be received by new President Thein Sein in the capital Naypyidaw on Wednesday, a day after talks with counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin, a Myanmar government official said.

    But he is not the first visiting dignitary to meet the new president.

    A group of Communist Party officials from India's regional economic rival China received an audience in April, just days after the handover of power from the junta to a nominally civilian government.

    Krishna made no comment on whether he would meet with Suu Kyi during his two-day visit, but Indian sources said no talks had been scheduled with the Nobel peace laureate.

    The foreign minister is the highest-ranking Indian official to visit Myanmar since elections in November -- the first in 20 years -- resulted in the new army-backed government.

    Suu Kyi, who was freed from long-term house arrest shortly after the elections, had refused, along with her National League for Democracy party, to participate in the polls, saying the rules were unfair.

    In a statement on his departure from India, Krishna said talks would focus on "enhancing security cooperation" and collaboration in fields such as energy and infrastructure.

    As well as needing the Myanmar military's help to counter Indian separatists along their common border, India is eyeing oil and gas fields and hydroelectric projects in the country.

    It is also keeping a wary eye on China. Beijing, a long-time ally of the Myanmar junta, has shielded the country from UN sanctions over rights abuses as a veto-wielding, permanent member of the Security Council.

    "India has come to realise that China has been showing more than the normal interest in the Indian Ocean affairs," Krishna told parliament after two Chinese warships docked for a rare visit to Yangon last August
     
  2.  
  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    India, Myanmar to discuss trade and security ties

    NEW DELHI -- Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna headed to Myanmar on Monday after reaffirming his country's commitment to economic and strategic cooperation with its neighbor's new nominally civilian government.

    Krishna is the first high-level Indian official to visit Myanmar since an elected government replaced a military junta in March.

    India and Myanmar have developed deep economic and security ties over the past decade. India has said it believes talking quietly is a better approach than sanctions in dealing with Myanmar's military-backed government, which has been widely criticized for human rights abuses.

    On Monday, Krishna did not reply directly to a question about whether he would meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his three-day visit.

    "I don't know if I will get a chance to interact with other leaders during my brief stay in Yangon," he said.

    India is also wary of China's growing influence in Myanmar, and is in competition with its large regional rival for access to the country's large natural gas resources.

    India and Myanmar have widened cooperation between their security forces since the mid-1990s, with both countries fighting armed insurgencies along their shared border.

    India says separatist rebels in its northeastern states often slip across the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) -long border and take shelter in jungle bases inside Myanmar.

    Krishna, who will meet Myanmar President Thein Sein, said he will explore ways to increase trade and investment in oil and gas projects, hydroelectric power and railways.

    Two-way trade, which has doubled since 2006, reached $1.57 billion in 2010.

    The two countries will also review progress on a $110 million project to improve transport links to India's remote northeastern states, Krishna said.

    The ambitious Kaladan project includes the building of roads, a waterway on the Kaladan River and development of Sittwe port in western Myanmar, which will provide an opening to the sea for India's landlocked northeastern states.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  4. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,434
    Likes Received:
    1,719
    Location:
    Land of the GODS - "Dev Bhomi".
    if we are to gain a significant say within burma then we need to rejig the way our rather tardy bureaucracy works, else each time we reach a point where we have to slug it out with the chinese for influence there, we will end up as losers every given time. one power plant we commit, and it takes us years to even move beyond the first step of making an offer of interest of making such a power project.

    other than that, just look at the fdi figures, china has put in nearly 10b usd in that country and we are stuck at less than 200m usd and our officialdom and media behave as if it is us who have put in those 10b usd!!!

    we are far from gaining any significant influence in burma vis-a-vis china, certainly not with the policies we have persisted with. make this a fast paced and wholesome relationship and then see the rewards, else keep making good for nothing trips.
     
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    India pledges Myanmar $10 mn, donates 10 rice silos News

    Nay Pyi Taw/Yangon, June 21 (IANS) India made its first official contact with the new civilian government in Myanmar Tuesday with visiting External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna pledging $10-million to enable capacity-building in agriculture and dedicating 10 disaster-proof rice silos to ensure people have enough to eat during cyclones and floods.

    India’s bid for an alternative trade transit route to its northeastern states also took a giant leap forward with Myanmar agreeing to a proposal to realign a strategically important multi-modal transport project through the Kaladan river’s mouth in the Bay of Bengal.

    The $10-million aid will enable Myanmar enhance the capacity of its farmers by buying agricultural implements from India.

    Krishna made the promise of funds on the penultimate day of his three-day visit when he met his counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin in Myanmarese capital Nay Pyi Taw, officials in the Indian delegation said.

    The two sides also decided that India will set up an agriculture research centre in Ye Zin, close to the country’s capital.

    The research centre will come up after agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, regarded as the mentor of India’s Green Revolution and presently a member of the Indian prime minister’s committee on food security, carries out a detailed study of the project.

    Agriculture contributes about 43 percent of Myanmar’s GDP.

    Earlier in Yangon, Krishna inaugurated in the presence of Myanmarese Commerce Minister Win Myint, the 5,000 tonnage storage capacity silos India funded with a $2-million grant. The silos are capable of withstanding wind speeds of 150 km per hour and are earthquake-resistant. For flood prevention, the silos are built on plinths two metres from the ground.

    The need for the silos was felt by Myanmar after the devastating 2008 Nargis cyclone hit the Myanmar coast, rendering several thousands homeless and without food for weeks.

    ‘One of the lessons learnt from the catastrophe was the need to have strong and weather-proof rice warehouses located at strategic positions in cyclone prone areas to enable speedy distribution of foodgrain in times of need,’ Krishna said in his address at the event.

    Of the 10 silos constructed in a year ending February, four are in Yangon region and seven in Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) region.

    And, in a major boost to cultural and historic ties with Myanmar, Krishna offered to renovate and restore a 12th century temple in the ancient city of Bagan in the Mandalay region, which the Myanmarese government accepted, officials in the Indian delegation said.

    Krishna also agreed to India granting 100 computers to Myanmar’s land records department for training its personnel and digitalise record-keeping in the department. For this, a computer training centre will soon come up in Myanmar.

    On Monday evening, Krishna visited a 2,600-year-old Shwedagon pagoda, a Buddhist pilgrimage centre in Yangon.

    He later paid homage to India’s last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, who died in Yangon in 1862 at the age of 87 after being exiled from Delhi.


    Because of its strategic location as a bridge to the ASEAN region, India attaches great significance to ties with Myanmar and has welcomed the formation of the civilian government here. China has a strong presence here and recently rolled out the red carpet for Myanamar President Thein Sein and offered loans and credits worth more than $765 million.

    Since India cannot match China’s economic diplomacy, it engages in public diplomacy with capacity-building and skill development that connects with the common Myanmarese. India is also talking about better connectivity with the northeast to encourage cross-border trade and better security cooperation against cross-border insurgents.
     
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  6. sanjay

    sanjay Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    186
    VOA says:

    India Puts Security, Trade With Burma Ahead of Democracy

    Oh, and as if the US doesn't put security ahead of democracy when propping up the army in Pakistan. Their buddy Musharraf was an unelected dictator for quite some time.

    Even before Nixon's visit to China, we all saw how much the US "cared" for democracy. :rolleyes:
     
  7. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    The Hindu : Front Page : “No anti-India activities from our soil”

    [​IMG]
    External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna (third from left) along with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao pays respects at the mausoleum of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor of India, in Yangon on Monday.



    Nay Pyi Taw: Myanmar gave “firm assurances” to India on Tuesday that its territory would not be used for anti-India activities, even as their Foreign Ministers held a series of “positive and constructive” meetings with focus on cooperation in security, energy and agriculture.

    External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, who is a on a three-day visit to the country to talk and understand the “priorities and thinking” of the recently formed civilian government, held bilateral talks with the country's Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.

    On the issue of security cooperation, sources said Myanmar had reiterated its “firm assurances” that the country's territory would not be allowed to be used for anti-India activities.

    Security cooperation has been a major part of bilateral relations because of the long border that Myanmar shares with four northeast States. Many insurgent groups operating in the area are known to take advantage of the thick jungles along the border in Myanmar to take refuge.

    “Talks positive”

    Mr. Krishna also called on Vice-President U Tin Aung Myint Oo in the evening besides holding meeting with the Minister for Electric Power.

    “The talks were excellent, positive, constructive and forward-looking,” a member of the Indian delegation said when asked about the bilateral meetings held.

    While the meetings were a bid to foster strategic and economic ties between the neighbours, sources said a number of issues with regard to cooperation in the field of health and agriculture were also discussed.

    India also congratulated Myanmar on holding successful elections that saw the formation of the first civilian government in years.

    Help from India

    India has in principle agreed to modernise the children's hospital in Yangon by supplying latest equipment and offering other help. Talks are also on to build a state-of-the-art general hospital in Sittwe with Indian help, sources said.

    Extending a helping hand to cyclone-prone Myanmar, India handed over 10 modern and disaster-proof rice silos built at a cost of $2 million to preserve grains during natural calamities. Mr. Krishna inaugurated the silos, having a combined storage capacity of 5,000 tonnes.

    While cooperation in the agriculture field is an ongoing phenomenon, sources said a team from the Ministry of Agriculture led by agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan would soon be visiting Myanmar to understand the country's needs and the possible help that can be extended.

    India has already agreed to provide a grant of $10 million for procurement of agricultural tools, besides providing 100 computers to the Central Land Records, as requested by Myanmar. Sources said discussions were also held on setting up an Agricultural Research Centre in Yezin.

    Temple restoration

    India has agreed to send a team from the Archaeological Survey of India to render its services in the restoration of 11th century Ananda temple in Bagan in Mandalay region.

    On the economic side, both countries expressed happiness at the rapid growth of trade but noted that there was also a large untapped market, sources said. — PTI
     

Share This Page