Millennium Post

India has 'multi-pronged' approach to strengthen trade ties with Myanmar: Kovind

Yangon (Myanmar): India has a "multi-pronged" approach to strengthen its economic and commercial relations with Myanmar, President Ram Nath Kovind said Thursday, as he urged the two countries to learn and leverage from each other's competencies.

Kovind, who is in Myanmar to pursue India's high-level bilateral engagements under the rubric of the 'Act East' and the 'Neighbourhood First' policies, inaugurated the Fifth 'Enterprise India Show' here.

Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe interacted with the leading Myanmarese businesses and over 50 Indian companies, from globally reputed majors to small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in cutting-edge manufacturing.

Kovind said Myanmar and India are close neighbours with an abiding friendship, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

"Our trade and investment partnership, however, at present, is modest. But we both remain deeply committed to bring them up to steam. Opportunities before us are many and multiple to expand trade, forge joint ventures and invest in each other's growth and development," Kovind said.

As Myanmar is seeking to make an economic transition and India has established itself as the fastest growing major economy in the world, the two countries can do much to learn and leverage from each other's competencies, he said.

The event brought the best of Indian products, services, innovation and know-how to business partners, start-ups, incubators and customers in Myanmar, he said.

"We have a multi-pronged approach to strengthen our economic and commercial relations with Myanmar. Through our infrastructure projects, we are enhancing connectivity between our countries. And through understandings and agreements, we are facilitating land-border crossing for enhancing trade and tourism.

"We need to complement our on-going efforts, and urgently so, with a Motor Vehicles Agreement. This will open new possibilities for progress and prosperity for people living along the border, for Myanmar to source goods and services more efficiently and economically, and for us to exchange eco-friendly products made from bamboo, water hyacinth and other natural vegetation," the president said.

The two governments are looking at strategies to diversify trade and investment relations, Kovind said.

"I hope that the interactions during this event will dwell on the narrow bilateral trade and investment basket and come up with ideas and options to expand them," he said.

India is also keen to forge new partnerships with Myanmar in the fields of digital economy, e-commerce, sustainable products and green solutions, Kovind said, urging the two countries to expand their business networks from Yangon to Mumbai and from Mandalay to Manipur.

"We eagerly look forward to welcoming the Chief Minister of Yangon in Mumbai soon to connect our commercial capitals and to deepen business and banking partnerships," he said.

The Indian growth story has much to offer to Myanmar. India is today not only a source of goods and services but also technology, finance, best business practices, innovation and smart solutions, Kovind said.

"We have undertaken to transform our economy through ambitious infrastructure projects, smart-city programmes, high speed train corridors, green-field airports, port-led industrial development and digital connectivity i-ways.

Indian companies and their capacities offer Myanmar the best of infrastructure, cutting-edge products and services and digitally driven choices from fin-tech to biotech and more, he said.

Myanmar companies, if they decide to 'look West', are sure to find many avenues for cooperation with their Indian counterparts, Kovind said.

He also urged the Indian businesses to tap the immense possibilities and prospects in the Myanmar market, bringing up new projects and proposals, especially in renewable energy, power, light engineering, agro-products and machinery, IT, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and education sectors.

In the last four years, India has risen 65 places in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking.

"We would be happy to share our experience with Myanmar," Kovind said, adding that on capacity building and skills development, it is privileged to share its expertise and experience with Myanmar.

"India is the largest consumer of Myanmar's beans and pulses and this sector has faced some difficulties lately. I assure you that we have in mind the interests of farmers on both sides and are working with the Government of Myanmar to find a mutually beneficial solution," he added.

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