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On the visit of H.E. Vice Senior General Maung Aye to India

April 02, 2008

His Excellency Vice Senior General Maung Aye, Vice Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Union of Myanmar, is currently visiting India between 2-6 April 2008 on the invitation of the Hon'ble Vice President of India, leading a high level delegation, including members of the business community. Apart from Delhi, he will also be visiting places of economic, scientific, historical and religious interest.

H.E. Vice Senior General Maung Aye called on the Hon'ble President, Hon'ble Vice President and Prime Minister today soon after his arrival in Delhi. He also met the External Affairs Minister and the Chief of Army Staff. He will be meeting the Hon'ble Leader of Opposition tomorrow.

During his call on the Hon'ble President, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the fast growing multifaceted relations between the neighbours. The relationship encompassed a wide range of areas including cross-border developmental projects, trade, IT, Telecommunication, hydrocarbon, etc. In particular, Hon'ble President expressed happiness at the conclusion of the Kaladan Multi modal Transit Transport project. This project will greatly enhance connectivity between Myanmar and India, in particular with India's North East States. Both leaders noted with satisfaction the growing cooperation at the regional and multilateral level, especially keeping in mind India's Look East Policy and its special focus on CLMV countries in the ASEAN.

During the call on Prime Minister, PM recalled his meeting with the Prime Minister of Myanmar in November 2007. Expressing his happiness at the signing of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport project and other agreements during the visit, PM stressed the importance of pursuing various cross-border projects to promote greater connectivity and economic engagement between the two countries. Both leaders noted that more needed to be done to enhance trade between the two countries and, towards this end, agreed to take steps to open up the existing border points in the North East States for regular trade. Both leaders recognized the need to cooperate closely in the hydrocarbon sector. PM reiterated India's commitment to support Myanmar in the Telecommunication and the IT sectors. H.E. Vice Senior General Maung Aye thanked India for its generous assistance inter alia for cross-border infrastructure projects, construction of roads, lines of credit and establishment of IT Centre at Yangon. Cooperation in security matters on the India-Myanmar border was also discussed.

Noting the positive steps being taken by the Myanmar Government towards national reconciliation and political reforms, including the announcement of elections in 2010, PM underlined the need for Myanmar to expedite the process and make it broad-based to include all sections of society, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the various ethnic groups in Myanmar. PM expressed support for the UN Secretary General's good offices and his satisfaction at the facilitation of the visit of UN Special Envoy, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari by the Government of Myanmar.

Later in the evening, during his call on Hon'ble Vice President, H.E. Vice Senior General Maung Aye conveyed the recent initiatives taken by the Government of Myanmar on their political reform and national reconciliation process and the announcement of referendum in May 2008 and elections in 2010. The Hon'ble Vice President reiterated India's support to the efforts of UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, Mr. Gambari and conveyed that India did not believe that sanctions were helpful and that it may well prove to be counterproductive. The discussions covered all areas of mutual bilateral interest and the growing cooperation between India and the ASEAN. In his speech at the dinner banquest hosted in honour of the visiting dignitary, the Hon'ble Vice President recalled the historical and cultural bonds between the two countries. Calling Myanmar as a natural bridge between ASEAN and SAARC, he reiterated the mutual desire of India and Myanmar to build on the commonalities and synergies between the two countries.

Several agreements were signed in the presence of the Hon'ble Vice President and H.E. Vice Senior General Maung Aye, including the Agreement and two Protocols of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport project and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.

Myanmar is a close and friendly neighbour, with whom India shares a border of more than 1,600 kms. Myanmar also serves as a gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN. External Affairs Minister had visited Myanmar in January 2007. The Foreign Minister of Myanmar H.E. U Nyan Win had visited India in January this year and Foreign Secretary visited Myanmar in February 2008.

New Delhi

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