India flags smuggling, narcotics, and arms issues with Myanmar's deputy PM

Dr. Jaishankar also reiterated that India is open to engaging all stakeholders in addressing the situation.
External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar during a meeting with a visiting delegation of senior leaders from Myanmar on Wednesday.
External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar during a meeting with a visiting delegation of senior leaders from Myanmar on Wednesday.Photo | X

NEW DELHI: The instability in Myanmar has increased the smuggling of goods, narcotics, and arms, a concern highlighted by External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar during a meeting with a visiting delegation of senior leaders from Myanmar on Wednesday.

"Met with Deputy PM and FM of Myanmar U Than Shwe in Delhi. We discussed our concern at the impact of continuing violence and instability in Myanmar. Particularly flagged illegal smuggling, narcotics, arms smuggling and trafficking in persons as priority challenges," said Dr Jaishankar.

Dr. Jaishankar also reiterated that India is open to engaging all stakeholders in addressing the situation.

"We also sought cooperation for early return of Indian nationals trapped in Myawaddy and also pressed for credible security protection of our ongoing projects in that country," Dr Jaishankar added.

India’s most ambitious project in Myanmar, the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project, was nearing completion before instability set in. India began working on this project in 2010, with an initial completion target of 2014. However, a decade-long delay has escalated the cost from the earlier projection of Rs. 535 crore to Rs. 3,200 crore.

"We urged the early return of Myanmar to democratic transistion and reaffirmed that India was ready to help on all accounts,’’ Dr Jaishankar noted.

India shares a 1,643 km border with Myanmar on land, along with a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram all share borders with Myanmar. The situation changed dramatically when a state of emergency was imposed in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, and administrative control was taken over by the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who is the current Prime Minister of the provisional government.

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