CM bats for cementing Manipur-Myanmar relations

DIPR/AGENCIES IMPHAL, 10th Nov: Chief Minister N Biren Singh has announced that Government of Manipur is planning to construct guest houses for Buddhist pilgrims from Myanmar as well as tourists and patients coming to the state.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of International Conference ‘Looking Forward: India Myanmar Relations’ held at Yangon on Friday. The CM is on a four-day visit to Myanmar.

The conference was jointly organised by Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, India (ISCS) and Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies (MISIS) with support from Embassy of India, Yangon, RIS, MIBC and Mizzima Media Group.

Speaking as the chief guest, Chief Minister Biren conveyed that a regional language study centre would be set up in Manipur for developing foreign languages, especially Myanmar and Thai languages. The Manipur government would set up Buddhist religious teaching institution (s) in alliance with Nalanda University through the Ministry of Culture, in Manipur, he said.

Recalling the glorious history of Indo-Myanmar relations, Biren said that India and Myanmar are not just good neighbours but inseparable nations that have together stood the test of time for centuries.

Highlighting the border area development plan for Moreh and surrounding areas, he said that the government is planning to develop a new cosmopolitan township with all the requisite facilities for international trade to be established near the border.

While pitching for closer relations with Myanmar, the CM said: “In my state, they say we will be prosperous if our eastern gates open. The eastern gates of Manipur can only open to India.”

He detailed the considerable resources base of Northeast India and the neighbouring regions of Myanmar.

“But these resources can only be utilised if our road infrastructure is developed and market centres are set up in important places on Myanmar-India border,” the chief minister said.
“Barter trade on our border has been abolished, but we need a boost to border trade, for which the Moreh-Tamu corridor can be utilised. However, the infrastructure there should be modernised, and a new township created near Moreh,” Biren said.

For boosting bilateral trade, he suggested setting up quality testing labs and banking infrastructure on the border and visa on arrival facilities for traders and medical patients.
Biren asked for easing regulations to facilitate cross-border investments between border regions of India and Myanmar.

“Manipur is the sports capital of India, and we should have more sports exchanges. Especially our Manipur-dominated Indian women football team and Myanmar women football team should play each other,” the chief minister said.

On the importance of Act East Policy in the region, the Chief Minister conveyed that Manipur government has constituted a State Level Committee to aid and advice in effective operationalization of Act East Policy in the state. With an aim to promote and implement the Act East Policy of the Government of India effectively, he said, the Committee shall advise and guide the departments and government agencies in carrying out various activities in Manipur and the neighbouring region.

He further mentioned the vast potential resources in terms of natural resources of the North East India. The region has the highest hydro power potential for producing roughly above 40 thousand Mega Watts.

The Chief Minister stated that his Government has identified several potential projects for investment under the sectors of Power, Tourism, Horticulture, Agro based industries, Food Processing, Handloom and Handicrafts etc. and Manipur is ready to provide incentives to potential investors who are willing to invest in the State.

He further said that marketing infrastructure need to be developed in terms of storage and processing facilities, adequate marketing system, road infrastructure and market centres in the region.

Biren also invited the media fraternity from Myanmar to be guests in Manipur during the ‘Manipur Sangai Festival 2017’. He said that there will be a media interaction where one can share the views and ideas on Act East Policy, to deepen the relationships between both the countries and above all the growth of economies. He further mentioned that there will be an exhibition women’s football match between Myanmar and Manipur in the upcoming Manipur Sangai Festival under the theme “Connecting through Sports”.

Among others, Ambassador (retired) and MISIS chairman U Nyunt Maung Shein, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Zeya, Ambassador of India to Myanmar Vikram Misri and Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, India (ISCS), secretary Arindam Mukherjee also attended the conference.

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Vineet Joshi, State Level Committee for Operationalization of Act East Policy convener RK Shivachandra and Personal Secretary to Chief Minister Salam Rajen are accompanying the Chief Minister.

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