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India extends USD 500mn line of credit to Myanmar


Embarking on a new journey of bilateral cooperation, India on Monday extended a USD 500 mn line of credit as part of 12 agreements on sectors like trade and energy signed with Myanmar, which vowed that its territory will not be allowed to be used by terrorists to target India.

Marking a historic visit to Myanmar, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 25 years, Manmohan Singh held extensive talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein, drawing up a roadmap for future course of bilateral ties.

After their talks, the two countries signed a raft of agreements to boost energy supplies from resource-rich
Myanmar to energy-hungry India, enhance trade and cross-border rail, shipping and road links that go beyond bilateralism to cover Thailand.

After being greeted with a ceremonial guard of honour, Dr. Singh first held restricted talks with President Sein and then the two leaders led their sides to a larger format of discussions that saw them undertaking a comprehensive review of the bilateral ties and outlining a roadmap for the future.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Export-Import Bank of India and Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, India will extend to Myanmar a concessional credit line of USD 500 million which will be utilised in infrastructure development projects, including in agriculture, irrigation, rail transport and power in Myanmar, said a joint statement issued after Singh-Sein talks held at the Presidential Palace.

During the meeting, Dr. Singh also announced an annual assistance of USD 25 million over the next five years for all-round economic development of border areas in Naga Self Administered Zone and Chin province of Myanmar bordering northeastern Indian states of Nagaland and Mizoram.

Indian officials said meeting the developmental needs of
Myanmar's border areas will go a long way in addressing Indian security concerns as several northeastern Indian insurgent groups, including ULFA, NSCN (K), operate out of the territory of Myanmar.

Briefing media persons, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said the Prime Minister raised the insurgency issue in the context of
India's security concerns, to which the Myanmar President vowed that no Indian insurgent or terrorist would be allowed to use his country's territory to target India.

The joint statement said "both leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to fight the scourge of terrorism and insurgent activity in all its forms and manifestations and emphasised the need for enhanced cooperation between security forces and border guarding agencies for securing peace, security and stability in the border areas
."

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