New Delhi: – Indian Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla are on a visit to Myanmar. The Indian foreign ministry had already clarified that the relations with Myanmar had been given the highest priority under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East Policy’. The visit of the Indian Army Chief and Foreign Secretary becomes extremely important against the background of the tension with China on the Ladakh border and the short time left for Myanmar elections.
During the Myanmar visit, the Army Chief and Foreign Secretary will be meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar and Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing. Discussions regarding defence, trade, energy, development projects and infrastructure facilities will be held during the meeting. As per reports, an agreement for marine transport will also be signed between the two countries. At the same time, a discussion over the Kaladan Multi-Modal Project is also expected.
As Myanmar shares its border with the north-eastern states of India, some terrorist organisations have established their bases in the Myanmar border regions. The Indian Army has, in collaboration with the Myanmar army, broken the back of these terrorist organisations. Myanmar also has assured that it will not allow the use of its land to any terrorist organisation.
Two months ago, it was exposed after the seizure of an arms haul in Thailand that China is supplying arms to the terrorist organisations in Myanmar. It was also reported that India had sought details of the matter from Thailand and Myanmar. It is reported that this issue regarding terrorists will also be featured in the discussions. There will be talks, between India and Myanmar, even regarding the Rohingyas. Against this background, this visit of the Indian Army Chief to Myanmar becomes significant. This also becomes the first foreign visit of General MM Naravane after assuming the responsibility of Chief of Army Staff.
Meanwhile, last week, discussions were being held between India and Myanmar regarding bilateral cooperation via videoconferencing. During the meeting, India announced that the Sittwe Port, being developed by India in Myanmar, will soon become operational. Development of Sittwe Port is a part of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Project, and this will make an alternative route available to India to reach the north-eastern states.