Cooperation Cooperation


Defence & Security Cooperation has strengthened over the years. Exchange of high-level visits, signing of MoU on Border Cooperation, training, Army, Air Force and Naval Staff Talks are important indicators in this direction. CNS Admiral Sunil Lamba (1-4 Nov 2016) and COAS Gen. Bipin Rawat (27-31 May 2017) visited Myanmar and held wide-ranging discussions on enhancing the scope of defence relations. In July 2017, Sr Gen Min Aung Hliang, C-in-C Myanmar Defense Services visited India, in what was his second visit in as many years, giving an opportunity to further cement defence ties. Myanmar side has provided assurances at the highest levels that it will cooperate with India in taking necessary action in preventing the use of Myanmar territory for anti-India activity.

Commercial Cooperation: A bilateral Trade Agreement was signed in 1970. Bilateral trade has been growing steadily to reach US$ 2175.14 million (2016-17), of which Indian exports amounted to US$ 1107.89 million and Indian's imports to US$ 1067.25 million. India is the fifth largest trading partner of Myanmar but trade remains below potential. Agriculture sector dominates trade, particularly supply of beans & pulses to India ($ 809 million, 2016-17) and timber ($ 156 million). India's exports to Myanmar include sugar ($ 424 million), pharmaceuticals ($ 184 million), etc. Border trade via Moreh and Zawkhatar reached to $ 87.89 million; Indian exports being $ 24.44 million and Indian imports being $ 63.46 million.

India is presently the tenth largest investor with an approved investment of US$ 743.64 million by 26 Indian companies (as of 30 Sepember 2017). Most of India's investments have been in oil & gas sector. 100% FDI is allowed in select sectors. Indian companies have evinced interest in investing in Myanmar.

Besides normal trade, both sides have also taken steps to bolster trade across the land border. Cooperation in the banking sector is crucial for investment and trade. United Bank of India has signed banking agreements with banks of Myanmar (MFTB, MICB, MEB, and 9 private banks) to facilitate bilateral trade. United Bank of India, EXIM bank and State Bank of India have representative offices in Yangon. In March 2016, State Bank of India was awarded a Commercial Banking License and commenced operations from 3 October 2016.

Myanmar is an important partner in our energy relations with other countries. MOS for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan visited Myanmar from 20-24 Feb 2017 during which both sides discussed opportunities for cooperation in varied areas.

Development Cooperation: We have extended development assistance on generous terms. We are committed to provide grant-in-aid assistance amounting to almost Rs 4000 crore (of total commitment of approx. US$ 1726 million). These include support for the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project; the Trilateral Highway Project, which is an East-West corridor connecting our Northeast with Myanmar and Thailand; the Rhi-Tiddim road; supply of Bailey bridges; assistance for border area development in the Naga Self Administered Zone by financing bridges, roads, schools and small health centres; assistance in setting up institutions for higher learning and research, namely Myanmar Institute of Information Technology, Advance Centre for Agricultural Research and Education, Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Myanmar-India Centre for English Language Training, India-Myanmar Industrial Training Centres, assistance in public health by supporting upgradation of Yangon Children's Hospital, Sittwe General Hospital etc.

Disaster Relief: India has responded promptly and effectively to assist Myanmar in humanitarian relief operations following natural calamities like Cyclone Mora (2017), Komen (2015), earthquake in Shan State (2010), cyclone Nargis in 2008 and the recent outbreak of Influenza virus in July-August 2017, when we are providing vaccine, medicines, reagent kits and masks. We provided immediate relief material through INS Gharial: clothing, tents, rehabilitation supplies medical assistance, among others during cyclone Mora. During Cyclone Komen, biomass gasifiers, solar torches & lanterns were provided and 16 damaged transformers were repaired. A grant of USD 200,000 to repair the Shwedagon Pagoda complex in Yangon was provided during cyclone Nargis. US$200,000 cash was donated for Rakhine State rehabilitation. India provided assistance of US$ 1 million which was used to construct 10 schools in Rakhine State. We have offered to provide support in capacity building in disaster risk mitigation as well as in strengthening Myanmar's National Disaster Response Mechanism.

Culture: India and Myanmar share close cultural ties and a sense of deep kinship given India's Buddhist heritage. Building on this shared heritage India is undertaking some key initiatives: Restoration of the Ananda Temple in Bagan and GOI donation of a 16 foot replica of the Sarnath Buddha Statue which has been installed at the premises of Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon. The ‘Samvad-II’ Interfaith dialogue was held on 6-7 August 2017, Yangon. The event was graced by Shri Ram Naik, Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and MOS Home Shri Kiren Rejiju. ICCR and Sitagu International Buddhist Academy organised an International Conference on Buddhist Cultural Heritage from 15-17 December 2012. Performances by cultural troupes have been organized on a regular basis. Myanmar troupes and artistes have participated in South Asian and ASEAN cultural events in India. We have responded to Myanmar's interest in restoring and renovating two historic temples in Bodh Gaya built by Myanmar rulers King Mindon and King Baygyidaw. These temples and inscriptions will now be restored as a bilateral friendship project.

Indian Diaspora: The origin of the Indian community in Myanmar is traced to the mid-19th century with the advent of the British rule in Lower Burma in 1852. The two cities Yangon and Mandalay had a dominating presence of Indians in civil services, education, trade and commerce during the British rule. There are varying estt. of 1.5-2.5 million people of Indian origin living and working in various parts of Myanmar. A large number of the Indian community (nearly 150,000) live in Bago (Zeyawaddy and Kuayktaga) and Tanintharyi Region and Mon State, primarily engaged in farming. The 7000 strong NRI community in Myanmar mainly lives in Yangon and Mandalay, engaged in export-import business or employees of MNCs based in India, Singapore and Thailand.

Bilateral Cooperation in Regional/ Sub-regional context: Myanmar's membership of ASEAN, BIMSTEC and Mekong Ganga Cooperation has introduced a regional/sub-regional dimension to bilateral relations and imparted added significance in the context of our "Act East" policy. Myanmar has generally been supportive of India's stand to various international organisations. For our part, we have supported Myanmar's association with SAARC as an observer; Myanmar formally acquired such status in 2008.

Useful resources

Embassy of India, Yangon







2017-08-03 13:26:25
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