India promises hearted support to Myanmar's internal peace process
As Myanmar sets out on a new path after decades of military rule, India today promised whole-hearted support to it in "every step" of its journey as the two countries resolved to deepen ties and actively cooperate to combat terrorism and insurgent activities in the region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive talks with Myanmarese President U Htin Kyaw, in first top level engagement with the new government of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, and conveyed India's full support to Myanmar's internal peace process.
The two sides inked four MoUs to boost cooperation in areas of connectivity, medicine and renewable energy, besides resolving to deepen ties in a range of other sectors, including agriculture, banking and power.
Reading out a statement to media, Modi later said both sides recognised that each other's security interests are closely aligned and that both countries agreed to work together to combat terrorism and insurgent activities in the region.
"We recognised that our security interests are closely aligned. And, we agreed on the need to remain sensitive to each other's strategic interests and concerns.
"To this end, President and I agreed to work together for the safety and security of our people. And, actively cooperate to combat the common challenges of terrorism and insurgent activity in our region," Modi said, with Htin Kyaw by his side.
Myanmar, considered one of India's strategic neighbours, shares a 1,640 km long border with a number of North Eastern states including militancy-infested Nagaland and Manipur.
India has been raising with Myanmar the issue of several North East militant outfits having training camps in that country.
Referring to new Myanmarese government's agenda of ushering a all round growth and development in the country, Modi said, "Let me assure you that at every step of the way 1.25 billion people of India will stand by you- Both as partners and as friends."
Reassuring India's support to Myanmar, Modi said India wants to take the relationship to "new heights", adding "A bright future for Myanmar is not just your objective. It is also our aspiration."
The Prime Minister said both sides have also agreed to work towards a long-term and a mutually beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses.
Calling Myanmar a "bridge" that connects India with South East Asia, Modi said "our discussions today have enabled us to evolve a road map and an action agenda for our cooperation."
The Myanmarese President on his part said his government wants to strengthen ties with India.
China has been increasing its footprint in Myanmar and making huge investments in several major projects.