Myanmar and India to open new international border gate in Tamu
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
People walk near the Tamu-Moreh border fence dividing Myanmar from India.
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