PM to have "wide range of discussions" with Myanmar leadership
Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), May 27 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed his desire for a "wide range of discussions" with the Myanmar leadership, soon after landing here on a three-day bilateral visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister since Rajiv Gandhi's visit to the southeastern neighbour in 1987.
" I am coming here after 25 years when the last Prime Minister of India visited here. We have centuries old ties of religion, culture and civilisation with the people of Myanmar. I look forward to meet the leadership of Myanmar led by President Thein Sein and to have a wide range of discussions," Dr. Singh told mediapersons here.
When asked if he intends to meet Nobel Laureate and leader of National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi, the Prime Minister replied in affirmative.
"Yes I intend to meet her," Dr. Singh said.
Dr. Singh is expected to discuss matters related to trade, investment and border issues with President Thein Sein, besides deliberating over India's quest for energy and China's growing influence in Myanmar.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister said India attaches highest importance to its relations with Myanmar, and added that the two nations will consider new initiatives and define a roadmap for further development of cooperation in the years ahead.
Dr. Singh said in his departure statement, "India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Myanmar, which is a close friend and neighbour. Recent years have witnessed significant strengthening and expansion of our bilateral relations."
"My visit to Myanmar will provide an opportunity to review the progress in the implementation of decisions taken during the highly successful State Visit of the President of Myanmar to India in October last year. We will also consider new initiatives and define a roadmap for the further development of our cooperation in the years ahead," he added.
Dr. Singh said stronger trade and investment links, development of border areas, improving connectivity between the two countries and building capacity and human resources are the areas that he hoped to focus on during his visit.
" We also hope to sign a number of Agreements/MOUs to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation in these areas, besides promoting people-to-people contacts," he added.
Asserting that India stands ready to share its democratic experiences with Myanmar, Dr. Singh said: "India welcomes Myanmar's transition to democratic governance and the steps taken by the Government of Myanmar towards a more broad based and inclusive reconciliation process."
Dr. Singh, who will hold talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein at Nay Pyi Taw on Monday, said India remains committed to a close, cooperative and mutually beneficial partnership with the Government and people of Myanmar.
"Our shared history and culture provides a strong basis for the enhancement of contacts between the people of our two countries. I look forward to visiting the historic Shwedagon Pagoda, a testament to 2600 years of Buddhist heritage, and the Mazar of the last Emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, in Yangon," he added. (ANI)
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