India strengthens ties with Myanmar
NAYPYIDAW: India agreed a raft of deals with Myanmar yesterday during a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh aimed at boosting trade and energy links and contesting the influence of regional rival China.
The first Indian premier to visit in a quarter of a century, Singh met President Thein Sein in the capital Naypyidaw as energy-hungry New Delhi woos Myanmar after dramatic reforms ended its international isolation. The neighbors signed 12 agreements covering an array of issues including security, development of border areas, trade and transport links. Talks were described as “warm, cordial and constructive” in a joint statement released after the meeting, which stressed the potential for closer future ties.
“Alluding to the mutually agreed target of doubling the bilateral trade by 2015, both leaders emphasized that there is considerable untapped potential for greater trade and urged the business community to capitalize on this potential,” it said.
Indian trade with Myanmar stood at $1.2 billion in 2010, far short of the $4.4 billion between China and Myanmar.
Singh is the latest in a series of top-level visitors to Myanmar as the international community begins easing sanctions, raising hopes that the impoverished nation could be the next big frontier market. He is seen as looking to expand India’s influence after half a century of military rule left Myanmar heavily reliant on Chinese investment and political support.
Posted by: Steve White