Monday, December 17, 2012

India to open third mission in Burma

Monday, 17 December 2012 15:11 Mizzima News  

India will become the first country to have three missions in Burma when it opens a new consulate in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State and an important sea port on the Bay of Bengal, India’s press have announced.

Burmese President Thein Sein (left) hosts India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw last week. (PHOTO: President's Office)

The news comes shortly after a trip to Burma by India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid who met his counterpart, Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyitaw, as well as President Thein Sein.

India’s The Hindu reported that “Sittwe port, about 550 km from Kolkata, is slated to see considerable Indian activity soon after it becomes the mouth of a maritime-cum-road route to India’s North-East as an alternate to India’s sole link to the region via the congested Siliguri corridor.”

The report said that ships could enter the re-dredged Sittwe port from the Bay of Bengal and unload cargo at Kaletwa on River Kaladan from where goods would be transported by road to the international border 60 km away.

“Under a modified proposal, instead of running the port, India will transfer modernized facilities to Myanmar once the work is over, and only Myanmar-registered vessels will ply on the waterway,” the report said.

During Khurshid’s visit, India made an offer of US $1 million towards developmental efforts in Rakhine State, aimed at benefitting both Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim communities.

Khurshid reportedly discussed four other major economic issues: a trilateral highway linking Burma and India to Thailand by 2016; the Rhi-Tiddim Road connecting both countries; gas exports to India; and the possibility of supplying power from the India-assisted Tamanthi and Shwezaye projects on the Chindwin River basin.

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