Monday, May 28, 2012

Indian PM arrives in Burma

Monday, 28 May 2012 13:02 Mizzima News

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will arrive in Naypyitaw on Monday to have talks with Burmese President Thein Sein, as the two countries further cement bilateral relations.

Singh, the first Indian prime minister visiting Burma in 25 years, will be ceremonially welcomed by President U Thein Sein.

Singh is likely to announce a fresh line of credit for development projects and sign a package of accords after the talks which could include a revised aviation agreement, landmark bus link between Imphal and Mandalay and new initiatives in expanding trade and energy cooperation, according to Indian media.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, center, and his wife Gursharan Kaur, next to Singh, walk on a red carpet upon their arrival at Naypyitaw airport late on May 27, 2012. India's prime minister began a visit to Burma, stepping up efforts to woo the resource-rich nation and seizing the chance to counter the influence of regional rival China. Photo: AFP

Singh will fly to Rangoon on Tuesday and meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), who postponed her address to the Asian World Economic Forum to meet with Singh.

Singh will also speak to Burmese businessmen in a speech titled “India and Myanmar: A Partnership for Progress and Regional Development.” An Indian business delegation is traveling with Singh.

Indian officials said they have placed Burma at the level of the highest importance and described it as a “close friend and neighbor.”

In October last year, President U Thein Sein visited India, during which he had talks with Singh on bilateral relations and pledged to double the trade value between the two countries in the coming years.

India and Burma also signed a memorandum of understanding on the upgrade of the Yangon Children's Hospital and Sittway General Hospital and on a program of cooperation in science and technology for the period of 2012-15.

India is actively involved in over a dozen projects in Burma, both in infrastructural and non-infrastructural areas, according to Indian media.

These include upgrading and resurfacing of the 160-kilometer long Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo road, construction and upgrading of the Rhi-Tiddim Road in Burma and the Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project.

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