India, Myanmar to boost cooperation in strategic areas

New Delhi: India and Myanmar will discuss ways to boost cooperation in strategic areas, including energy and security, when the visiting President Thein Sein holds extensive talks with the Indian leadership here tomorrow.

The visit by Sein, which comes amidst crucial political developments in that country, including suspension of a USD 3.6 billion China-backed dam project by Yangon and release of political prisoners, will also provide New Delhi with an opportunity to explore opportunities in large oil and natural gas reserves in Myanmar.

Briefing reporters, official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs, however, said India was not in competition with China in that country and there was enough room for both India and China to grow. "Relationships between countries are not zero-sum-game," he said. Sein, accompanied by a 13 senior ministerial colleagues and other senior officials, will hold extensive talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest will be discussed. Some pacts are expected to be inked, including in the field of science and technology and New Delhi is likely to extend a line of credit and also assistance to projects there.

India and Myanmar have placed emphasis on the upgrading of border roads and maritime transport along the Kaladan River to boost trade and accordingly, India had laid the foundation in December 2010 for the construction of port and waterway terminal of a Myanmar-India Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project in Sittwe township of western Myanmar`s Rakhine state. The river project, involving the Indian Inland Waterways Authority and ESSAR Projects (India) Co Ltd, is expected to be completed by June 2013, Harsh Shringla, Joint Secretary (BSM) in MEA said.