Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Myanmar has highlighted India’s interests and commitment to the country and its development. The first visit by an Indian leader in the past 25 years came amidst international attention accorded to Myanmar for its political reforms and untapped natural resources. Both the U.S and EU have shown a heightened interest and have increased diplomatic ties. India, clearly threatened by geo-interests has entered the game as well.
PM Singh met with Myanmar’s reformist President, Thein Sein. Dur- ing the meeting the two heads of state signed 12 agreements, one of which included a $500 million line of credit. In addition to this, agreements on investment promotion and agricultural reforms were also reached. The two leaders agreed to enhance transport links along their border to facilitate trade and tourism and held extensive discussions about strengthening air, rail and shipping links. In terms of energy development, India has hinted at investing in the Dawei port as well as a port in Sittwe, which will allow for an extensive river and road network, carving out a trade route for both countries and providing jobs to 600 Myanmar workers.
India is Myanmar’s third biggest export market and following the meeting, exports are expected to rise to $2 billion from the current $1.4 billion in the next two years.