The Arakan Army (AA) issued a press release saying they released House of Nationalities MP Whet Ting on January 21 from their captivity.
The press statement issued by AA says they released the ethnic Khumi NLD party MP of House of Nationalities, Whet Ting, as they want national reconciliation.
The father-in-law of MP Whet Ting said, “People were sent to pick up Whet Ting. We cannot yet say from which place he was picked up as we don’t know the exact location of it. They are now on the way back home. They said that Whet Ting was with them now but he has not yet arrived back home.”
AA arrested and took away MP Whet Ting while he was travelling with two speedboats owned by Kaladan multimodal project from Paletwa in
Chin State to Kyauktaw in Rakhine State on November 3.
It is learned that another captive, a school teacher who worked in Pui
Pone village, was also released by AA from captivity along with the MP.
The Ambassador of India to Myanmar handed over to Rakhine State Government, Government of India’s relief assistance for the civilians of Rakhine State displaced as a consequence of ongoing conflict, according to a press release.
The handing over ceremony was held at Sittwe on 21 January 2020 and attended amongst others by H.E. Dr Win Myat Aye, Union Minister for Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, H.E. U Nyi Pu, the Chief Minister of Rakhine State, H.E. U Soe Aung, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U San Kyaw Hla, Speaker of Rakhine State Parliament and Ambassador of India to Myanmar H.E. Shri. Saurabh Kumar. The relief material is valued at USD 235456 and consists of 20,000 kits consisting of Rice, Rice Noodles, Toor Dal, Chana Dal, Soya Oil, Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Salt and Tarpaulin.
The assistance is part of Government of India's continued endeavour to support the socio-economic development of Rakhine State and provide it with relief material, the statement also noted,
It may be recalled that the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) providing for Indian assistance for socio-economic development of Rakhine State was signed in December 2017. The programmes under the MoU include creation of infrastructure in the areas of education, health, agriculture and allied activities, agro-processing, community development and related training. These could include, inter alia, support for construction of small bridges, upgradation of roads, small power projects, livelihood activity, setting up of training centres, conservation of environmental and cultural heritage, empowerment of women and child welfare.
On 9 July 2019, 250 pre-fabricated houses constructed for displaced persons under the above-mentioned MoU were handed over to the Rakhine State Government. A set of additional projects related to construction of pre-schools, solar power supply, water supply, seed storage houses, incinerators in a hospital, agriculture mechanisation, roads construction, and provision of libraries and soft infrastructure at 15 schools are under advance consideration and will be implemented during the current year under the above MoU.
Government of India has also conveyed its readiness to establish an India-Myanmar Industrial Training Centre in Rakhine State to impart skills to the youth of the State for greater employability. Two such centres are already in operation in Pakokku & Myingyan and two others being established at the request of Myanmar government and will be operational soon at Monywa & Thaton.
Under its High Impact Community Development Projects (Small Development Projects scheme), last June, Government of India provided IT equipment to Sittwe Computer University and agriculture equipment to Rakhine State Government. Earlier, India had provided medical equipment to upgrade the facilities at Sittwe General Hospital.
During his visit to Sittwe for the relief material handing over ceremony, Ambassador of India called on H.E. U Nyi Pu, Chief Minister of Rakhine State and H.E. U San Kyaw Hla Speaker of the Rakhine State Assembly (who had requested for the relief material). Ambassador recalled the close bilateral bonds and people-to-people relations between India and Rakhine, and Government of India’s commitment to extend all possible help for the State’s development. Ambassador emphasized that all projects being undertaken by India in Rakhine State are grant in aid projects for the welfare of the people and that there are no commercial interests involved. He added that it is imperative that security around these projects is maintained.
Government of India has already completed the development of Sittwe Port and Inland Water Transport terminals at Sittwe and Paletwa which are all part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP). The port and inland water way terminal operator and maintenance contractor has been selected and the port operations will start soon. The said project has a huge potential to impact the economy of the State and provide livelihood to local people. The road from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram, India is an important part of the KMMTTP and is presently under construction. Once completed, connectivity between Sittwe port in Myanmar and Mizoram State of India will be established contributing to trade and commerce between Rakhine State and NorthEast of India. Government of India is looking forward to the early completion of this road and is confident that all concerned would provide assistance towards this objective. The total project cost of KMMTTP is estimated around USD 484 million making it the largest grant in aid project of India abroad.