23 Jan Indian president calls for more Myanmar-India trade

Written by Mizzima Published in Trade Read 3674 times
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shaking hands with the Myanmar Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham (L), during a meeting in New Delhi, India, January 21, 2015. Photo: Press Information Bureau of the Government of India/EPA
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shaking hands with the Myanmar Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham (L), during a meeting in New Delhi, India, January 21, 2015. Photo: Press Information Bureau of the Government of India/EPA

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has called for increased bilateral trade between Myanmar and India during a meeting in New Delhi with visiting Myanmar Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, according to a report in Business Standard on January 22.

The Myanmar vice president met on January 21 evening with the Indian president at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official home of the President of India. Myanmar Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham is on a six-day visit to Myanmar that ends on January 23.

“India-Myanmar bilateral trade is growing and India is today Myanmar's fourth largest trading partner with the balance of trade greatly in favour of Myanmar,” said President Mukherjee, according to an official statement. “Yet, this trade is far below potential and does not reflect the closeness of ties."

He said Indian companies are keen to bring their expertise and resources to Myanmar in promising sectors such as energy, power, construction, banking, insurance and other fields.

India has publicly trumpeted its “Look East Policy” but critics claim it has been slow to get off the ground. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar to the East Asia Summit in November, plus his government’s change of policy name to “Act East,” signals a more constructive engagement with their eastern neighbour, according to analysts.

The Indian president said that his country has always believed that its development cannot be complete and sustainable unless it builds productive partnerships with its immediate neighbours. India is committed to extend support of US$5 million [K5 billion] annually for five years under the MoU on Border Area Development."

India has already released a sum of $4.5 million to Myanmar and efforts are being made to expedite completion of all bilateral developmental projects, including Kaladan Project and connectivity projects, he said.

Myanmar Vice President U Sai Mauk Kham said that he long wanted to visit India. His first stop in Bodh Gaya on January 19 gave him the opportunity for a religious pilgrimage to the place where Buddha is said to have become enlightened, offering prayers at the Mahabodi temple.

He said his government was grateful to India for the assistance provided in various fields, especially in capacity building, health care and lines of credit for various projects across the country, and called on the Indian president to encourage the Indian business community to explore variousinvestment opportunities in Myanmar.