India to assist Rakhine state development program in Myanmar

Yangon (Myanmar) Sept. 6 (ANI): Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday said that New Delhi will assist Rakhine State Development Program in Myanmar. "We have committed Indian assistance to Rakhine state development program because we really believe that the medium term way of addressing problems in Rakhine area is really to look at developmental aspects there," Jaishankar said while addressing the media here. "So we made a principle commitment...lot of modalities in that regard will have to be worked out," he added. Emphasising that Myanmar is not only a partner of India in terms of Neighbourhood First policy, but also a gateway for India's Act East policy, Jaishankar said there are two self supporting reasons for the priority in the bilateral relationship of the two sides. He said India had a particular obligation to work with Myanmar as it proceeds along its democratic transition. Jaishankar said large parts of the discussions on Wednesday were focused on the development assistance, while noting that India is among the largest providers of the same, to Myanmar. "The importance of this visit and the discussions which took place were about lot of projects and objectives which were underway or our heading towards implementation of various kinds. We have a road map in many cases, the project reports are done and contracts have been awarded. So the real issue in this visit to come up with is new project, new initiatives, create the new horizon of cooperation with Myanmar, which would be based on priorities of the new government here and what we have come up is really a impressive metrics of road and rail projects of air connectivity, energy and of capacity building," he said. He further told that a good progress has been made on Kaladan Project and the Sittwe Port has been completed. "Just in last few days, we also made significant progress on the trilateral highway Kalewa-Yagyi and what we agreed to in course of this visit were two major road commitments and also two very important bridges that we would be building , so the physical connectivity between India and Myanmar will really deepen very much," he said. Jaishankar also said that a land border crossing agreement has also been negotiated that would be formalised in the coming days and this would essentially create regime for the people to travel from one country to another. He informed that the modalities of the Imphal- Mandalay bus service have been worked out and this is expected to ease people on both sides. "On the rail side the initiative, we are looking at now is the rail link from Tamur to Mandalay and we would be asking the railways to prepare a detail report about that, similarly on the fields of airport we have offered to build either the Pakokku airport or the Kalay airport and we would again be looking at the feasibility of his proposal," he said. "If you see the direction in which we are moving apart from connectivity we are also with our neighbourhood becoming an important source of energy supplies," he added. Jaishankar told that India has built industrial training centres, entrepreneur development centres and English language training centres in Myanmar. He said India received a very strong appreciation for the work they have done in Myanmar and also the Prime Minister agreed to open two more industrial training centres in the near future in Myanmar. Asserting that India has already established the research and education facility in the country, Jaishankar said that the two sides would be scaling agricultural training as well. "We have upgraded three hospitals of this country and we have now committed to building a hospital at Naypyidaw," he said. Appreciating Archaeological Survey of India for its renovation work in Myanmar, Jaishankar said India has committed to renovate 91 pagodas there and this will have a big impact on the tourism side. "We have offered additional line of credit of a billion dollar which we would be discussing with the Myanmar government. We also had some important security commitments made in response to a special request made to the state councillor .We agreed to built police training centre for women police at Yamethin. We also signed an important maritime security agreement," he said, while calling the visit by Prime Minister Modi 'a very substantive visit'. (ANI)