On December 10, 2018, President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind embarked on a 5-day maiden visit to Myanmar. The visit concluded on December 14, 2018. The President was accompanied by First Lady Smt. Savita Kovind.
- President Ram Nath Kovind is the first President to visit Myanmar in 12 years, since President Kalam’s visit in 2006. It was also his first visit to Myanmar.
- This visit was significant as Myanmar has a unique place in India’s “Neighbourhood First” and “Act East” policies.
Visit to Myanmar:
On December 10, 2018, President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind along with First Lady Smt. Savita Kovind reached Myanmar.
- The visit was made at the invitation of the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, His Excellency U Win Myint and the First Lady Daw Cho Cho.
- Besides holding bilateral discussions with President Myint, President Kovind also met with State Counsellor, Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
- The two delegates discussed about a range of bilateral and multilateral issues.
Meeting with the President of Myanmar:
On December 11, 2018, President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind held bilateral meeting with the President U Win Myint at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw.
i. They discussed on:
- maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, transnational crimes and mutually-beneficial development cooperation, terrorism and peace.
- redevelopment of Kalay Airport by Airports Authority of India,
- promotion of cooperation within BIMSTEC, which offers considerable opportunities for partnership in energy, trade and connectivity,
- Government of Myanmar’s announcement to grant Tourist Visa on Arrival at Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay airports, starting from 1 December 2018,
- Operating a coordinated bus service between Mandalay and Imphal (Transit at Tamu/ Moreh Border),
- Launch of Motor Vehicles Agreement to enable eco-friendly exchange of goods and services for people living along the borders
- Convene the next meeting of Myanmar-India Joint Trade Committee, at an early date,
- India’s willingness to expand the existing Rakhine State Development Programme, once the current allocation of US$25 million is fully committed.
- Myanmar’s support for India’s efforts to become a permanent member of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council,
- Setting up set Interim Liaison Office in Nay Pyi Taw in relation to relocating the Indian embassy to the capital.
2 MOUs signed between President of India and Myanmar on December 11, 2018:
After the bilateral meeting between the Presidents of India and Myanmar, 2 MOUs were signed in the areas of judicial and educational cooperation.
The MOUs are as follows:
- MOU on training of Myanmar judicial officers in India, in the field of civil law, criminal law, environmental and medical jurisprudence signed between National Judicial Academy of India and the Office of the Union Chief Justice of Myanmar.
- MOU to enhance cooperation in science and technology, especially for the research in industry, agriculture and other fields, signed between Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India and Department of Research and Innovation, Ministry of Education, Myanmar.
Other agreements are as follows:
- India signed MOU to hand over the first batch of 50 units (from total of 250) of prefabricated houses built in Rakhine State under the Rakhine State Development Programme funded by the Government of India.
- MoU for Cooperation on Combating Timber Trafficking and Conservation of Tigers and Other Wildlife and
- MoU on Bilateral Cooperation for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons; Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking.
Visiting the Yezin Agricultural University:
On December 12, 2018, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind paid his visit to the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education (ACARE) at the Yezin Agricultural University in Nay Pyi Taw.
- Here, he dedicated the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education to the people of Myanmar.
- It was established under the Bilateral Friendship Project and is funded by Government of India. The programme is run by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).
- The project focuses on genetics, post-harvest technology, participatory knowledge management and capacity building for farmers in Myanmar.
- He also dedicated a Rice Bio-Park in Yezin Agricultural University to the people of Myanmar.
- Projects under the park are undertaken by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, funded by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- The projects are aimed at ensuring optimal use and value addition of the gamut of bio-sources in a rice farm, including rice straw and rice husk.
- He also launched a mobile app for farmers in Myanmar.
Visiting Yangon on the second leg of the visit:
On December 12, 2018, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Yangon on the second day of his state visit to Myanmar. He was received by Phyo Min Thein, Chief Minister of Yangon.
- On his arrival, he visited places of historical and cultural importance, and paid his respects at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum, dedicated to the memory of General Aung San (father of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi).
- He also visited the revered Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Following that, he met and felicitated 9 surviving veterans of the Indian National Army who live in Yangon. The oldest of them, Shri K.A. Perumal, is aged about 90.
- He then addressed the Indian Community at a reception hosted by Shri Vikram Misri, Ambassador of India to Myanmar.
- On December 13, 2018, he also inaugurated the 5th Enterprise India Show, which witnessed the participation of Indian industries to network, partner and explore business opportunities in Myanmar.
- The show was hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce.
- He also visited the historic Kali Temple in Yangon and paid his respects at the mausoleum of Bahadur Shah Zafar, an iconic figure during the uprising of 1857.
♦ Capital: Nay Pyi Taw.
♦ Currency: Burmese kyat.