Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hamid Ansari VP India on four-day visit to Burma

Vice-President of India M. Hamid Ansari will begin a four-day official visit to military-ruled Burma on Thursday in a bid to give a leg up to bilateral relations between the two countries."He will begin the four-day trip Thursday," an official at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs told media on Wednesday.
According to a document at the MEA, during his visit Ansari will inaugurate the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) in Rangoon. India and Burma in July 2004 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set-up the India-Myanmar EDC (MIEDC).

Ansari in Mandalay, will inaugurate the Optical Fibre Link between India's border town of Moreh in Manipur state, northeast India and the ancient capital city of Mandalay in central Burma, set-up by the Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL).

India under, the project, has sanctioned US $ 7 million through its Export and Import (EXIM) Bank to Burma. With the Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication (MPT) acting as the executing agent on the Burmese side, ADSL2+2 systems have been installed in at least 80 locations across Burma, the document said.

While it is still not clear, who in Burma, the Indian Vice-President will meet during his visit, Ansari is slated to witness the signing of two MoUs - setting up of India-Burma Industrial Training Centre and Centre for English Language Training (CELT).

The ITC, which will be located in Central Burma's Pakokku Town, will be a joint venture between India's HNT (International) and the Burmese government. The CELT will be set-up under the Association of Southeast Asian Nation-India (Asean-India) project.

Ansari's trip to Burma will be the first Indian high-level official visit to the military-ruled country in 2009. Ansari will be accompanied by a business delegation, according to MEA.India's export to Burma for the same fiscal year stood at US $ 173.46 million.

India and Burma in recent years have stepped up bilateral relationship and cosied up in terms of trade cooperation. According to statistics released by the MEA, Indo-Burmese bilateral trade for 2007-08 stood at US $ 901.3 million with Burma's export to India standing at US $ 727.85 million.

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