Yangon, June 20 : Seeking to step up ties with Myanmar, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna arrived here today for high level talks with the new army-backed civilian leadership in the fields of security cooperation and energy security.
Krishna, who is the first high-level visitor from India since the new army-backed civilian government took over, was received by Yangon Region Minister for Foreign Affairs U Nyan Tun Oo along with Indian Ambassador V S Seshadri and other officials.
The three-day visit will focus on a number of issues relating to bilateral relations with Myanmar. Commerce and economic relations will be high on agenda along with security cooperation.
“The visit will give us the opportunity to further vitalise our multi-faceted relationship in the new political environment. We will have an exchange of views on enhancing security cooperation as well as our collaboration in the fields of connectivity, IT, energy, agriculture, power telecommunications and infrastructure,” Krishna said in New Delhi.
Official sources said the visit is an opportunity to engage with the new civilian government which took over in March. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is also part of the visiting delegation.
Krishna is expected to call on the the country's President, Vice-President and the Speaker besides holding delegation-level talks with his counterpart U Nyan Win.
India attaches great significance to its ties with Myanmar is the only ASEAN country which shares a land border with India. “Myanmar is a bridge between India and ASEAN,” a source said.
Bilateral trade has expanded significantly from USD 12.4 million in 1980-81 to USD 1.2 billion in 2009-10.
The trade turnover had shot up 2009-10, doubling just in two years. India is the fourth largest trading partner of Myanmar after Thailand, Singapore and China.
India is also the thirteenth largest investor with an investment estimated at USD 189 million in five projects.
However China is the biggest investor in Myanmar with investments totalling to about USD 9.6 billion.
“A lot more can be done on the trade and economy front. We like to see more border trade happening between the two countries,” a source said.
Indian investment ranges from oil and gas sector to hydroelectric power, railways, electric power among others.
On the security front, sources said continued cooperation was beneficial for both the countries and that there was good cooperation which needs to be deepened.
They expressed satisfaction over the intent and actions of Myanmar to take on Indian insurgent groups operating from their soil because of the thick jungles along the border.
Krishna visited the famous Shwedagon (Golden) Pagoda as well as the mausoleum of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Tomorrow Krishna will leave for Naypyitaw, Myanmar's new capital, after inaugurating the three of the ten rice silos being constructed with Indian assistance.
In Naypyitaw, Krishna will hold bilateral talks and is expected to seal new initiatives to be taken by India. PTI