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Opening remarks by Foreign Secretary on Prime Minister’s Forthcoming State Visit to Myanmar

May 25, 2012

Official Spokesperson (Shri Syed Akbaruddin) : Good afternoon friends. Thank you all for coming for this briefing.

As we have announced, Foreign Secretary will brief us on the Prime Minister’s visit to Myanmar. He will begin, as usual, with his opening remarks which will be followed by a question and answer session. For the question and answer session I would request you to initially focus all your questions on Myanmar. After they are finished, Foreign Secretary has agreed that he will take a few more questions on any other topic that you may want to focus on.

I just wanted to make a small announcement. Those of you who may want to know, from today onwards all our briefing sessions would also be web cast live, and they are available on You Tube as soon as you go back. So, if you want to check anything, you are always welcome do so.

With that, we will begin the interaction. Foreign Secretary.

Foreign Secretary (Shri Ranjan Mathai) : Thank you.

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh accompanied by Shrimati Gursharan Kaur will pay a state visit to Myanmar from the 27th to the 29th of May. He will be accompanied by Shri S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs, and senior officials. A delegation of Indian CEOs will also visit Myanmar at the same time.

The visit to Myanmar by the Prime Minister will be the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 25 years. The last visit was by the then Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi in December, 1987.

This visit follows the very successful state visit of the President of Myanmar U Thein Sein to India in October last year. The visit comes at a time when Myanmar is undergoing rapid transformation.

The visit of the Prime Minister will enable us to build on the new foundations of our multifaceted relationship which was laid during the state visit of the President last year. And we seek to leverage this to secure a stronger and mutually beneficial relationship with a neighbouring country that is integral to India’s Look East Policy. Considerable progress has been made in implementing decisions and agreements emanating from the President’s visit in October, 2011.

This visit will provide us an opportunity to review that progress and to discuss new initiatives that we would be taking in the furtherance of our relations. The new political environment in Myanmar also provides fresh opportunities to take our bilateral relationship to a new plane.

The visit thus provides an opportunity to enrich the substance of our relations both qualitatively and in scope and lays down a long-term vision and roadmap for mutually reinforcing bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas including security, connectivity, infrastructure development, trade and investment promotion, capacity-building and human resource development, culture and people-to-people contacts, and academic exchanges. We hope to sign a number of agreements and MoUs to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation.

Coming to the programme, the main engagements include discussions with President Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw on bilateral, regional and other issues of mutual interest, and signing of the various agreements and MoUs, to which I referred. The President will host a banquet in honour of the Prime Minister of India on the 28th.

Apart from the official engagements in Nay Pyi Taw, the Prime Minister will also visit Yangon where he is expected to meet Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Chairperson of the National League for Democracy, and other prominent personalities.

During his visit, Prime Minister will also deliver a public address on the theme "India and Myanmar: A Partnership for Progress and Regional Development”, at a function organized by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute. There will also be interactions between the business delegations of the two sides.

The Prime Minister would also visit the historic Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mazar of the Last Mughal Emperor of India Bahadur Shah Zafar, which is in Yangon. He would also have a separate interaction with the Indian community in Myanmar.

Thank you.

(Q & A Session will follow)

New Delhi
May 25, 2012

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