At the invitation of H.E. U Htin Kyaw, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, is paying his first bilateral State visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar from 5th to 7th September 2017. The visit is part of the continuing high level interaction between the leaders of the two countries and follows successive State visits to India last year by H.E. President U Htin Kyaw and H.E. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Prime Minister Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw on 5th September 2017. He paid a courtesy call on the President of Myanmar, who hosted a State Banquet in his honour. On 6th September 2017, the Indian delegation led by Prime Minister Modi held bilateral talks with the Myanmar delegation led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The talks were held in a warm, cordial and constructive atmosphere as befits the close and friendly relations between the two countries. Thereafter, the State Counsellor and the Indian Prime Minister witnessed the signing and exchange of various documents between Myanmar and India in the areas of health, culture, capacity building, maritime security and collaboration between key institutions and held a Joint Press Conference.
Apart from his official engagements in Nay Pyi Taw, Prime Minister Modi will visit places of historical and cultural importance at Bagan and Yangon. In Bagan, he will visit the holy and historic Ananda Temple, where restoration work is being carried out by Indian and Myanmar archaeologists under the expert guidance of the Archaeological Survey of India. In Yangon, he will pay his respects to the memory of General Aung San at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum and also visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum as well as other prominent sites. He will interact with the Indian origin and expatriate Indian community of Myanmar during his stay in Yangon.
During the talks, the two leaders reviewed developments since the very successful State visits of the President and the State Counsellor of Myanmar to India in August and October 2016 respectively. They reviewed ongoing official exchanges, economic, trade and cultural ties, as well as people-to-people exchanges that reflect the harmony between Myanmar’s independent, active and non-aligned foreign policy and India’s pragmatic Act East and Neighbourhood First policies. They pledged to pursue new opportunities to further deepen and broaden bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries. They reaffirmed their common aspirations for peace, collective prosperity and development of the region and beyond.
The Prime Minister of India appreciated the measures taken by the Government of Myanmar towards peace and national reconciliation and commended the on-going peace process of the Government of Myanmar. He noted that peace and stability in Myanmar are of the highest priority to India and reiterated India’s continued support to the Government of Myanmar in consolidating democratic institutions in Myanmar and for the emergence of a democratic Federal Republic.
The two leaders discussed the security situation prevailing along their borders and expressed concern at various incidents of terrorism and extremist-inspired violence that have taken place in their respective territories. Recognizing that terrorism remains one of the most significant threats to peace and stability in the region, both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed that the fight against terrorism should target not only terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against States and entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues. Myanmar condemned the recent barbaric terror attacks during the Amarnath Yatra in India as also various acts of terror perpetrated by terrorists from across the borders. India condemned the recent terrorist attacks in northern Rakhine State, wherein several members of the Myanmar security forces lost their lives. Both sides agreed that terrorism violates human rights and there should, therefore, be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs. They called on the international community to end selective and partial approaches to combating terrorism and, in this regard, jointly called for the expeditious finalization and adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the United Nations General Assembly.
Recognising that maintenance of security and stability along the common border is essential for the socio-economic development of the peoples of the border areas, Myanmar reaffirmed its respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and steadfastly upheld the policy of not allowing any insurgent group to utilise Myanmar’s soil to undertake hostile acts against the Indian Government. Myanmar also appreciated Government of India for upholding the same principle.
Both sides reiterated their mutual respect for the already demarcated boundary between the two countries and emphasised the need to resolve outstanding boundary demarcation issues as fast as possible through existing bilateral mechanisms and consultations.
Both sides reviewed the security situation in their immediate neighborhood and agreed upon the special need for enhancing closer bilateral cooperation in maritime security. They also agreed to foster mutually beneficial and deeper defence cooperation between the two countries and, in this context, noted with satisfaction the recent successful visit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of Myanmar to India. Besides institutionalized cooperation through regular coordinated patrolling initiatives, they agreed to focus on bilateral maritime cooperation in non-traditional security domains, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which are critical for safeguarding the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean as global commons.
Both sides pledged that Myanmar and India will maintain the already-achieved mutual understanding and growing bilateral relations between the two countries and that they will stand by each other as good and trustworthy neighbours in the years ahead in the interest of both peoples and the region.
The two sides noted with satisfaction the continued exchange of high-level visits that has fostered better mutual understanding of outstanding bilateral issues. They appreciated the regular holding of sector specific institutional mechanisms in the areas of security and defence, trade and commerce, power and energy, border management and connectivity etc. for effective follow-up of decisions taken at the highest political levels. They also noted with pleasure the excellent exchanges between Indian and Myanmar Parliamentarians and encouraged them to further enhance such interaction.
The Myanmar side expressed its heartfelt appreciation to Government of India for all the assistance rendered to Myanmar in support of its endeavour for socio-economic development. Both sides reviewed on-going cooperation projects being executed with technical and financial assistance from the Government of India, noting that these were directly associated with the benefit of the Myanmar people, and agreed that these should be expedited. Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s abiding commitment to supporting Myanmar in its efforts to build infrastructure and develop human resources capacity. Alluding to the positive experience of the Industrial Training Centres set up with Indian assistance in Pakokku and Myingyan, the Myanmar side thanked India for the support being extended to develop two more Centres at Monywa and Thaton respectively as well as the assistance for a five year comprehensive maintenance plan for ITC, Myingyan. They also expressed appreciation for the support offered by India to upgrade the Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre and the Centre for English Language Training at Yangon. The two sides also agreed to continue discussion towards the establishment of a Planetarium at a suitable location in Myanmar, recognizing that this would be a valuable institution that would nurture a scientific temper amongst the Myanmar youth.
The two sides shared the view that the situation in Rakhine State had a developmental as well as a security dimension. In this context, they agreed to bring about overall socio-economic development in the State by undertaking both infrastructure and socio-economic projects, particularly in the spheres of education, health, agriculture and allied activities, agro-processing, community development, construction of small bridges, upgradation of roads, small power projects, livelihood activity, setting up of training centres, promotion of household crafts, conservation of environment and cultural heritage. Myanmar welcomed India’s offer of assistance under the Rakhine State Development Programme and the two sides agreed to finalize the implementation modalities within the next few months
The two sides noted with satisfaction the cooperation in the field of agricultural research and education, especially through the rapid progress in operationalizing the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education set up at the Yezin Agricultural University and the Rice Bio Park set up at the Department of Agricultural Research. It also appreciated India’s assistance for facilitating post graduation and doctoral education in agricultural sciences for candidates from Myanmar.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the ongoing capacity building programmes for Myanmar judicial officers, military personnel and police. Myanmar thanked India for the extended period of support to the Myanmar Institute of Information Technology and the India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT Skills. They agreed that India would extend regular training to Myanmar diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi. Myanmar welcomed India’s offer to enrol two Myanmar diplomats every year for training at the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan while 150 Myanmar civil servants would undergo training in English language at Indian training institutes every year for a period of five years.
Recognizing the need to further upgrade the training infrastructure and capacity building of Myanmar Police, the two leaders welcomed the signing of the Memorandum on Upgradation of the Women’s Police Training Center at Yamethin in Myanmar with technical and financial assistance of Government of India. Myanmar welcomed India’s offer to help set up a training centre for police officers in Yangon and it was decided that modalities would be jointly worked out.
Myanmar thanked India for supporting various projects in Myanmar that enhance bilateral as well as regional connectivity like the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project and other road and bridge construction projects as fully funded grant-in-aid projects. Myanmar appreciated the substantial progress made on the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project with the completion of works on the Sittwe Port and the Paletwa Inland Water Transport Terminal and the handing over of six cargo barges to the Myanmar Port Authority and Inland Water Transport. The two sides agreed to enter into an MoU on appointing a port operator that may include both sides to be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the port in keeping with the practice that has been adopted at other international ports in Myanmar. This would enable the Port and IWT infrastructure to be used commercially and promote development of the surrounding areas even as the final component of the project, the road from Paletwa to Zorinpui, is under construction. Both sides noted with satisfaction that work on the road was already underway and agreed to facilitate movement of project personnel, construction material and equipment across the border through Zorinpui and Paletwa. They also noted that construction work would shortly begin on reconstruction of bridges on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa Road and on the Kalewa-Yargyi sector of the Trilateral Highway. The two sides have agreed upon the alignment of the Rih-Tedim road and the DPR for its construction. Further steps on construction of the Putao-Myitkyina and Alethankyaw-Ahungmaw roads under available LOC would be taken after DPRs are made available by Myanmar. In response to Myanmar’s request, India agreed to undertake preparation of DPRs for the Rihkhawdar-Zowkhathar bridge and the Bwaynu bridge.
The two sides also reviewed projects in the field of health and noted with satisfaction that work on the upgradation of Yangon Childrens’ Hospital and Sittwe General Hospital and on construction of Monywa General Hospital had been completed. They agreed to start consultations to establish and operate a state-of-the-art hospital in Nay Pyi Taw in association with one of the leading Indian hospital groups, based on modalities to be mutually decided.
Both sides deliberated on the progress made in utilization of US$ 500 million concessional Line of Credit extended by India to Myanmar in 2012. Noting that the projects to be implemented under the Line of Credit would help augment the physical infrastructure in vital areas and enhance capacities in agriculture and transport, they resolved to implement mutually agreed projects expeditiously.
Both sides expressed that, in order to derive full value from these infrastructure projects, the institutional arrangements related to connectivity needed to be put in place on priority. In this regard, they noted the importance of concluding a bilateral agreement that would enable motor vehicle traffic, both passenger and cargo, to cross the border.
Both sides underlined the need for bringing about greater integration of power and energy supply networks between India and Myanmar. Myanmar welcomed India’s participation in its energy sector both in exploration and production and invited Indian companies to participate in tenders for petrochemicals and petroleum products, marketing infrastructure and setting up of LPG terminals. India informed that leading Indian oil and gas companies are in the process of opening their offices in Myanmar. The two sides applauded the agreement reached by Numaligarh Refinery of India and Parami Energy Group of Myanmar on supply of diesel to Myanmar across the land border, noting that this will give the people of north Myanmar cheaper and more reliable access to petroleum products, and also encouraged both sides to collaborate in storage and retail marketing of petroleum products in Myanmar. The first consignment of the high speed diesel reached Myanmar on 4th September 2017.
India also expressed its readiness to extend technical as well as project-specific assistance to conventional as well as renewable energy-based power development projects identified by Government of Myanmar. In addition to the earlier offer to conduct a feasibility study for development of solar parks in Myanmar, India offered to conduct a solar radiation resource assessment in Myanmar. The two sides discussed ways to cooperate in the field of energy efficiency between the two countries. Myanmar thanked India for the technology demonstration projects being undertaken through Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. of India to introduce LED-based energy efficient lighting in key townships and buildings identified by Myanmar in Nay Pyi Taw, Bago region and Rakhine State. India shared its experiences in power trade and expressed its interest in examining possible cooperation in this area with Myanmar. It was agreed that these and other relevant issues would be taken up at an early meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on Power and other forums. In view of the immense benefits that would accrue to participating countries, Myanmar promised to give careful consideration to India’s suggestion to join the Framework Agreement for the establishment of the International Solar Alliance.
The two sides noted the current level of bilateral trade and investment and agreed that, while robust, it has potential for growth. In this regard, they emphasized the need to improve market access by removing all trade barriers with a view to facilitate trade between the two countries. They expressed satisfaction with the conclusions reached at the 6th meeting of Myanmar-India Joint Trade Committee held in New Delhi, India in June, 2017 and agreed to continue holding of meetings on Border Trade Committee and Border Haats Committee.
India welcomed Myanmar’s desire to seek cooperation with it to develop Myanmar’s textile sector covering standardization, inspection and quality recommendations, research & development, human resource development and capacity building .
The two sides acknowledged the importance of pulses in the bilateral trade basket, and the implications this trade has for the Myanmar farmers and Indian consumers. In this context, the State Counsellor expressed grave concern at the recent notification issued by India imposing quantitative restrictions on various categories of pulses and requested Prime Minister of India to lift all restrictions on imports from Myanmar in view of the bonds of friendship and long term interests of the two peoples and nations. The Indian Prime Minister responded that it was important to work out long term arrangements whereby the interests of both the peoples could be safeguarded in future.
The two sides welcomed the successful negotiations and finalization of the agreement on border crossing which will help in regulating and harmonizing movement of people across the common land border and thus promote bilateral trade and tourism and directed their senior officials to expeditiously conclude the formalities for its signature. Leaders of both countries agreed to negotiate and swiftly conclude an agreement on commencing a coordinated bus service between the two countries from Imphal in India to Mandalay in Myanmar.
They shared the view that enhanced air connectivity between the two countries will boost people-to-people contacts as well as promote greater tourism, trade and investment flows. The leaders also agreed that a DPR would be prepared by Airports Authority of India through the close cooperation with Department of Civil Aviation(DCA) of Myanmar for development of Pakokku Airport or Kalay Airport with financial and technical assistance from India. They also welcomed Government of India’s offer of customized training and capacity building programmes for Air Traffic Controllers of Myanmar in India. The leaders directed their respective officials to also explore the feasibility of construction of a rail link between Tamu and Mandalay in Myanmar. It was agreed that a team from India would be deputed to study and prepare a DPR for the rail link between Tamu and Mandalay.
Both sides recognized the importance of establishing mutually agreed procedures for the rescue and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking. In this context, they welcomed the finalization of the MoU on Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking and conveyed their intent to conclude it at the earliest.
The two leaders emphasized the centrality of culture in further deepening the close bonds between the peoples of India and Myanmar and expressed satisfaction with the signature of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the period 2017-20. They expressed confidence that the CEP would also promote cultural exchanges between the North Eastern States of India and the bordering areas of Myanmar. India also confirmed that 2 slots would be made available annually for Myanmar archaeologists for advanced studies at the Indian Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi.
The Indian side conveyed that the project being undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India to preserve and conserve stone inscriptions and temples of King Mindon and King Bagyidaw of Myanmar in Bodh Gaya is at an advanced stage and would be completed by December 2017. The Myanmar side welcomed this information noting that these temples constitute an important aspect of India-Myanmar cultural heritage.
Myanmar welcomed India’s assistance in the socio-economic development of Bagan while preserving and conserving its heritage. Prime amongst these is the project to restore and conserve 92 ancient pagodas and structures in Bagan through the Archaeological Survey of India. The two sides welcomed the finalization of an MoU in this regard. Other projects proposed to be undertaken as India-Myanmar cooperation projects are those of setting up of “Bagan Haat” as a hub of Myanmar craft, food and cultural activities, LED-based street lighting, rain water harvesting for sustainable water management, training for alternative income generation for the people of Bagan and upgradation of identified schools.
Myanmar expressed deep appreciation to India for the decision taken by the Government of India to give Myanmar nationals gratis visa in all categories, except e-visa.
The Government of Myanmar thanked India for its decision to grant special pardon to 40 Myanmar nationals who are currently undergoing imprisonment in India for various crimes. This gesture was deeply appreciated by both the Government and the people of Myanmar, especially by the families of those who will be released from Indian jails.
Recognising the importance of the role played by the media in fostering and supporting democracy, both sides welcomed the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Press Council of India and the Myanmar Press Council. Activities under this framework will encourage exchanges between journalists and promote better understanding of political and economic developments in India and Myanmar.
Both sides reaffirmed their shared commitment to deepen regional cooperation to maximize the mutuality of interests and to ensure equitable share of mutual benefits in all areas, including trade, transport and energy. They recognized the importance of various regional/sub-regional collaborative initiatives to improve the lives and livelihoods of all people across the two countries.
India and Myanmar reaffirmed their commitment to work closely in the UN and other multilateral organizations. They underscored the importance of coordinating their positions on multilateral issues of common interest. Both sides reiterated the importance of a strong United Nations and emphasized the need for an early reform of the Security Council. They reaffirmed their commitment to support the Inter-Governmental Negotiations for comprehensive reforms of the Security Council. Myanmar reiterated its support for India’s efforts to become permanent member of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council. The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to work together particularly in the international arena to strengthen the means of implementation as enshrined in the SDGs 2030. The two sides stressed the importance of objectivity and impartiality of the United Nations and its specialized agencies in pursuing their work.
Both sides underscored the need for strengthening and reform of multilateral financial institutions and enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making.
India and Myanmar expressed firm commitment to set an example of good neighbourliness in the region. They emphasized that they must continue to progress together. They therefore agreed to promote shared interests of the peoples of the two countries so as to live together harmoniously and in a mutually beneficial inter-dependent environment.
Prime Minister Modi thanked the President of Myanmar for the warm and gracious hospitality extended to him and his delegation during their stay in Myanmar.
Prime Minister Modi also invited State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India at a mutually convenient time. The State Counsellor of Myanmar expressed her deep appreciation for the invitation.