In­dia, Myan­mar sign Rakhine port ac­cord

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com

In­dia and Myan­mar sign an agree­ment on the ap­point­ment of a pri­vate op­er­a­tor to run and main­tain Sit­twe port, Paletwa in­land wa­ter ter­mi­nal, and as­so­ci­ated fa­cil­i­ties in the Kal­adan Multi-modal Tran­sit Trans­port Project.

IN­DIA has signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MOU) with Myan­mar on the ap­point­ment of a pri­vate op­er­a­tor to run and main­tain Sit­twe port, Paletwa in­land wa­ter ter­mi­nal, and as­so­ci­ated fa­cil­i­ties in the Kal­adan Multi-modal Tran­sit Trans­port Project, an In­dian Em­bassy state­ment said.

The sign­ing was wit­nessed by In­dian For­eign Sec­re­tary Shri Vijay Gokhale, who paid an of­fi­cial visit to Myan­mar on Mon­day, the state­ment said, adding that the deal was a sig­nif­i­cant step in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of In­dia’s Act East Pol­icy.

The state­ment said the MOU will en­hance Myan­mar’s con­nec­tiv­ity with In­dia and add to de­vel­op­ment of the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly Rakhine and Chin states.

‘’It would also add to lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture ca­pac­ity and help cre­ate more jobs for lo­cal peo­ple,” it added.

In­dia and Myan­mar signed a frame­work agree­ment for the am­bi­tious trans­port project in 2008.

It in­volves us­ing sea, river and road trans­port to link Kolkata and other eastern In­dia ports with Mi­zo­ram via Rakhine and Chin.

Ac­cord­ing to the state-run Global New Light of Myan­mar news­pa­per, in 2016, In­dia awarded the con­tract for the fi­nal stage – the road to be built from Paletwa to Zor­in­pui on the bor­der with Mi­zo­ram and the build­ing of the Sit­twe port and Paletwa in­land wa­ter ter­mi­nal. But the project has been de­layed by the un­rest in north­ern Rakhine.

U Than Soe Naing, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst, said In­dia may ac­cel­er­ate its projects in west­ern Myan­mar be­cause Rakhine is a very im­por­tant part of its strategy to link with ASEAN coun­tries.

“Now is a good time for In­dia to speed up the projects in Rakhine by pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance. I think In­dia will do this,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the State Coun­sel­lor’s Of­fice, In­dia signed two agree­ments last month to give Rakhine US$25 mil­lion in grant as­sis­tance over five years. The first phase is a pi­lot project to build 250 pre­fab­ri­cated houses in north­ern Rakhine for dis­placed peo­ple.

Gokhale also met with State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to dis­cuss bi­lat­eral con­cerns, in­clud­ing cur­rent de­vel­op­ments in Rakhine, and with U Thant Sin Maung, min­is­ter of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, to dis­cuss In­dia’s con­nec­tiv­ity and trans­port in­fra­struc­ture projects in Myan­mar.

Gokhale also met with Com­man­der-inchief of De­fence Ser­vices Se­nior Gen­eral Min Aung Hlaing to dis­cuss bor­der se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion and the peace process.

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