Myan­mar and In­dia to open new in­ter­na­tional border gate in Tamu

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI EI THU

PIL­GRIMS, traders and ad­ven­tur­ous hol­i­day­mak­ers can soon look for­ward to the open­ing of a new border gate be­tween In­dia and Myan­mar, of­fi­cials say. Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter U Thein Swe said the new in­ter­na­tional border gate at Tamu, Sa­gaing Re­gion, would open soon.

He said the In­dian au­thor­i­ties were “en­thu­si­as­tic” about the open­ing.

“We’ve al­ready met with the In­dian am­bas­sador, who said his gov­ern­ment wanted to open the gate. We ex­pect it will be open within the next four months,” he said, adding that the sign­ing of the agree­ment was now un­der dis­cus­sion be­tween the two gov­ern­ments’ for­eign min­istries.

The min­is­ter was re­spond­ing in the Amyotha Hlut­taw to a ques­tion from MP U Maung Maung Latt (NLD; Sa­gaing 9) who had asked when the Tamu border gate could open to per­mit tourists to en­ter.

“The Tamu border gate will pro­mote im­prove­ments in re­li­gious, so­cial and com­mer­cial contacts,” he told MPs.

The Tamu gate would be the fifth, after Tachileik, Myawady, Htee Khee and Kawthoung, where tourists can al­ready cross.

Ac­cord­ing to the tourism min­istry, the num­ber of car­a­van tours en­ter­ing Myan­mar this year as of Oc­to­ber was 131, or 20 per­cent up from last year. As of Septem­ber, 2.2 mil­lion for­eign visi­tors in all had en­tered via land bor­ders.

The num­ber of car­a­van tours will in­crease once Tamu was open as car­a­van tours could pass through Myan­mar en route for Thai­land or Viet­nam, Daw Aye San­der, direc­tor of Mother Ir­rawaddy travel and car­a­van tours, told The Myan­mar Times.

“Tamu will be­come an im­por­tant border gate. And car­a­van tours from the Myan­mar-Thai­land bor­ders can cross Myan­mar to visit Im­phal and Bhutan,” she said.

It takes a week for the tourism min­istry to grant car­a­van tours per­mis­sion to en­ter, she said, though the min­istry would with­hold per­mis­sion for cross­ings where se­cu­rity was at risk, as at Muse.

Cross­ings are al­ready per­mit­ted at Tamu-Moreh and at the Myan­mar vil­lage pair of Khaw­mawi and Rikhaw­dar, which link with In­dia’s Zokhawthar in Mi­zo­ram state, for a fee of 10 ru­pees per per­son and 100 ru­pees per ve­hi­cle per day.

“The In­dian gov­ern­ment is very en­thu­si­as­tic about sign­ing the agree­ment on Tamu-Moreh, which would boost busi­nesses and tourism and al­low pil­grim­ages. We want to im­ple­ment this as soon as pos­si­ble,” said U Thein Swe.

Dur­ing a re­cent tourism development con­fer­ence in Ma­nipur, In­dia last week, tourism rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Myan­mar were told that In­dian travel agen­cies are in­ter­ested in sell­ing trips and tour pack­ages to visit Kalay and Tamu in Sa­gaing Re­gion cross­ing via the In­dia-Myan­mar land border.

They said they had dis­cussed the pro­posal with Myan­mar of­fi­cials many times, hop­ing to pro­mote tourism along the shared border. The plan was never ini­ti­ated how­ever, as they did not re­ceive a re­ply from their Myan­mar coun­ter­parts.

At a press con­fer­ence on Novem­ber 24, Shri Vinod Zut­shi, sec­re­tary of In­dia’s Min­istry of Tourism, said In­dia is try­ing to con­nect a num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing Myan­mar, in travel pack­ages aimed to pro­mote tourism-based com­mu­nity development.

“We are try­ing to have some kind of con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween North­east In­dia and ar­eas fur­ther east in­clud­ing Myan­mar and other South­east Asian coun­tries in the ASEAN,” he said. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by

Ei Ei Toe Lwin

Photo: EPA

Peo­ple walk near the Tamu-Moreh border fence di­vid­ing Myan­mar from In­dia.

PYAE THAT PHYO

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