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India, Myanmar 19th round of FOC held virtually; Webinar on Kaladan multimodal Project also Organized 

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India, Myanmar review entire gamut of bilateral relationsOn October 1, 2020, the 19th round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and Myanmar was held virtually to review the entire gamut of relations, including border cooperation and the ongoing restoration work on earthquake damaged pagodas in Bagan. 

  • The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Myanmar delegation was led by Permanent Secretary, U Soe Han.
  • Notably, Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states.

Apart from the above FOC, a webinar was organised between both nations on the Kaladan multimodal project to discuss the scope and scale for accelerating diplomatic efforts for the successful implementation of the Kaladan project. It was organised by CUTS International located in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

  • The Kaladan project is the first cross-border project that India had initiated for the betterment of connectivity of its northeast region. The Government of Myanmar provides land and security while the cost is borne by India.

Key Points:

–The next Joint Trade Committee Ministerial Meeting to be held on October 20, 2020 for further strengthening of bilateral trade and investment relations.

–India is committed to its partnership with Myanmar in accordance with India’s Neighbourhood First and Act East policies.

-Myanmar appreciated India’s efforts towards COVID related and development assistance and also thanked for providing debt service relief under the G-20 (Group of Twenty) Debt Service Suspension Initiative, for the period May 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. India’s assistance to Myanmar is around $ 1.4 billion.

India-Myanmar Relations:

–Myanmar is India’s closest defence partner in the region and is also the largest destination for India’s investment in the oil and gas sector in Southeast Asia with an energy portfolio of more than $ 1.2 billion.

–India will host Myanmar’s representative at the Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

–Among Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), there is Project Agreement for the establishment of modern Integrated Check Post at Tamu, Myanmar while MoU for the construction of 50 basic schools and the Project Agreement for upgrading of agricultural mechanization sub-station will be signed shortly. 

–India will also extend support for the construction of Bwaynu bridge in Myanmar

–The validity of MoUs on the Myanmar Institute of Information Technology and the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education (ACARE) have been extended.

–Both sides are working on the modalities of a training program for the Myanmar Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and will also support Yamethin Police Training Academy. 

–Recently, India and Myanmar have entered into a trilateral cooperation with Japan on the Rakhine State under which we will create soft infrastructure for 15 schools.

Recent Related News:

i.On August 28, 2020, India granted the 4th tranche of $5 million to Myanmar for the development of the India-Myanmar Border Area.

ii.On August 20-21, 2020, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand organized the two-day long 6th Round Table of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks (AINTT) through video conference on the theme “ASEAN-India: Strengthening Partnership in the Post COVID Era”.

About Myanmar:
Capital– Naypyitaw
Currency– Burmese kyat
President– U Win Myint