Will hold talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein as well as Oppn leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi

Nay Pyi Taw Seeking stronger ties with resource- rich Myanmar, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on Sunday on a

historic visit during which the two sides will chart out a roadmap and take initiatives to bolster relations in several areas, including energy, trade and connectivity.

Singh, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in 25 years, will hold talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during the three- day trip. India has been associated with Myanmar during the junta rule despite international criticism. The Prime Ministers trip came following recent reforms in

the country, which has now turned to democracy.

India sees Myanmar as a strategic asset for a closer connection with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) bloc as well as a key partner in counterinsurgency and economic development initiatives in its northeast border areas.

An energy- hungry India is also eying Myanmars large oil and natural gas reserves and is looking at countering Chinas influence in the Southeast Asian country.

During the junta rule, China and India were the main countries that Myanmar interacted

interacted with, reports PTI. Though India has a good presence in Myanmar in terms of various projects, China has been very pushy in energy as well as infrastructure besides others. In a pre- departure statement, Singh said that his visit ” will provide an opportunity to review the progress in implementation of decisions” taken during the ” highly successful visit” of Myanmar President to India in October last year. ” We will also consider new initiatives and define a roadmap for the further development of our cooperation in the years ahead,” said Singh.

The last Prime Minister to visit the country was Rajiv Gandhis in December 1987.

India will be looking to enhancing its presence in the resource- rich energy sector of Myanmar, especially oil and gas, and to improve the road connectivity with its strategic eastern neighbour.

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