Myanmar top leader leaves on goodwill visit to India

10:36, July 25, 2010      

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Myanmar top leader Senior-General Than Shwe left Nay Pyi Taw Sunday to start a five-day goodwill visit to India, official sources from the new capital said.

At the invitation of Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, is making the trip.

Than Shwe's visit will top the agenda on economic cooperation between the two countries and border security, diplomatic sources said.

Than Shwe is expected to meet Pratibha and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi for bilateral talks.

In February 2009, Indian Vice-President Shri M. Hamid Ansari visited Nay Pyi Taw, during which Myanmar and India reached three memorandums of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation -- instrument of ratification on bilateral investment promotion and protection, establishment of an English language training center in Yangon with Indian assistance and setting up of an industrial training center in Myanmar's Pakkoku.

Ansari also inaugurated the first cross-border optical fiber telephone link between the two countries set up in Myanmar's second largest city of Mandalay.

The 7-million-U.S.-dollar high-speed broadband link for voice and data transmission connects Mandalay and India's border town of Moreh in Manipur, which are separated by a distance of 500 kilometers.

Moreover, Ansari inaugurated the Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Center set up at the Institute of Economics at the Hlaing University in Yangon.

As for trade cooperation, Myanmar-India bilateral trade reached 1.19 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year of 2009-10, increasing by 26.1 percent from the previous year and standing as Myanmar's fourth largest trading partner after Thailand, China and Singapore, according to the latest official figures.

Of the total, Myanmar's export to India amounted to 1 billion U. S. dollars, while its import from India was valued at 194 million dollars.

Agricultural produces and forestry products led in Myanmar's exports to India whereas medicines and pharmaceutical products topped its imports from India.

Meanwhile, India's contracted investment in Myanmar reached 189 million U.S. dollars as of March 2010 since the government opened to foreign investment in 1988, of which 137 million were drawn into the oil and gas sector in September 2007, the statistics show.

Source: Xinhua


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