India-Myanmar trade relations to strengthen | SupportBiz

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India-Myanmar trade relations to strengthen

Manmohan Singh arrived in Myanmar's new capital on May 27 on a three-day trip that will see India expanding trade and connectivity with its oil-rich neighbour. Singh will meet President Thein Sein, who heads a quasi civilian government that has been carrying out rapid reforms since last year. He will also meet pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon.

The prime minister is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and senior officials.

This is the first trip by an Indian prime minister to the country in 25 years. The last Indian prime minister to visit the country was Rajiv Gandhi in 1987.

Improving regional connectivity and expanding bilateral trade will be the key highlights of the visit by the Indian PM, who is expected to underline India's full support for bolstering the democratic transformation in that country.

Singh will speak on the theme 'India and Myanmar: A Partnership for Progress and Regional Development' at a function organised by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said that the foundation for the visit was laid during last year's visit by the Myanmar president to India.

"Myanmar is integral to India's Look East policy," he said in New Delhi on May 25.

He said that new initiatives will be discussed during the trip that will 'lay out the roadmap' with regard to security, connectivity as well as human resource development and academic exchanges.

The Indian cabinet has cleared a bus service linking Imphal in Manipur to Mandalay in Myanmar. Mandalay is about 600km from the Indian border town of Moreh and Imphal is another 100km away from there. India shares a 1,643km-long border with Myanmar. The Indian states sharing Myanmar border are Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram.

A delegation of CEOs of major Indian companies are also in Myanmar during the prime minister's visit.