On a day Myanmarese Opposition Leader Aun San Suu Kyi publicly talked about her ambition of becoming the President, India promised development aid to Myanmar and committed to be its “steadfast partner”. Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma met Suu Kyi at Nay Pyi Taw, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
New Delhi expressed its support to Myanmar’s development “as it charters its path to growth and progress”. The Minister met Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2013.
“India is working closely with Myanmar and Thailand to develop the tri-lateral highway as we call it… we are half-way there and am sure that by 2015-2016, this should be fully operational,” Sharma added. Suu Kyi showed eagerness to connect with India on textiles as Myanmar had a fascination for natural fibre.
During the WEF meet Suu Kyi stunned the audience, when she expressed her intention to run for President, once the constitution is changed.
“There are those who say I shouldn’t say I would like to be President,” she said , adding, “But if I pretended that I didn’t want to be President I wouldn’t be honest, and I would rather be honest with my people”.
However, she is currently ineligible to be the President, as the constitution states that the head of state cannot have children who have nationality of a foreign country. Her two sons are British citizens. Since her entrance into mainstream politics, Suu Kyi has improved her relations with the military, whose support is crucial to change the constitution.
Sharma also met U Than Htay, Myanmar’s Minister of Energy, and conveyed the interest of Indian banks to start operations there.
New Delhi was keen to strengthen co-operation in procuring energy, oil and natural gas from Myanmar. “Our companies are interested in securing more exploratory oil and gas blocks both onshore and offshore,” Sharma said.
India and Myanmar set a bilateral trade target of $3 billion by 2015. In 2011, bilateral trade stood at $1.708 billion while it was $ 1.872 billion in 2012.