PM Modi to discuss security cooperation, Rohingya issue in Myanmar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Myanmar on September 5 on his first bilateral state visit during which both sides are expected to ink a number of agreements.

Published: 02nd September 2017 12:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2017 12:04 AM   |  A+A-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Myanmar on September 5 on his first bilateral state visit during which both sides are expected to ink a number of agreements and deliberate on key issues including an exodus of Rohingya community.

Ways to deepen security and defence cooperation, implementation of India-assisted development projects and the issue of cross border activities by certain insurgent groups along the Indo-Myanmar are likely to figure during Modi's talks with the leadership of the country during the three-day visit.

On September 6, the Prime Minister will hold wide-ranging talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi covering entire expanse of bilateral relationship, Sripriya Ranganathan, joint secretary in-charge of Bangladesh and Myanmar in the External Affairs Ministry, said.

She said the spate of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state and the exodus of the ethnic Rohingya minority will figure in the talks.

The Prime Minister will travel to Nay Pyi Taw, the capital city of Myanmar, from China where he will attend the annual BRICS summit. On August 5, Modi will meet Myanmar President Htin Kyaw who is also hosting a banquet for the Prime Minister, Ranganathan told reporters.

From Nay Pyi Taw, Modi will proceed to an ancient city of Bagan where India is involved in development cooperation project, Ranganathan said.

He will then travel to Yangon where he will have a series of engagements including interaction with the Indian community.

In Yangon, the prime minister will visit the Shwedagon pagoda and will go to martyr's mausoleum to pay tribute to Gen Aung San, the Burmese nationalist leader who was assassinated.

Gen. Aung is the father of Suu Kyi.

Modi will visit a famous Hindu temple and shrine of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Ranganathan said the visit will be an occasion for India to not only review the ongoing development cooperation partnership but also to focus on new areas of engagement.

"We regard this visit as an important visit and one in a series of ongoing interaction which we hope will continue in future," she said.

Asked about the Indian Army's action last year along the Indo-Myanmar border, Ranganathan said there was no misunderstanding between the two countries over the issue.

"I think it is very well known that actions were carried out along the border. It is a difficult border. It is a border on which the exact location of the boundary sometimes may be difficult to make out.

"I do not think there is any misunderstanding between us and the Myanmar government on what we sought to do," she said.

Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

She said there is full confidence on both sides about the intention of the governments.

There is concern and desire on both sides to prevent any hostile activities against India from the soil of Myanmar, Ranganathan said.

She said the problem of the activities of the insurgents along the Indo-Myanmar remained a matter of discussion between the leadership of Indian and Myanmar.

She said the Kaladan project and the trilateral high-way project will be discussed during the Prime Minister's visit.

India would also convey to Myanmar about the kind of project it has on its priority list and whether it would like to partner with India in their execution. "We will be guided by Myanmar government in its choice of projects," she said.

India has an overall commitment of USD 1.75 billion for developmental programmes in Myanmar.

"Myanmar is a very very important partner in our Act East policy and neighbourhood first policy," said Ranganathan.

On the exodus of Rohingya community, she said, "The issue of the Rakhaine state is a matter of great concern. There has been a prominent attack recently, a large no of people have lost their lives. We have reached out to Myanmar government after the attacks on what can be done."

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