Peace and stability in Myanmar in India's own interest: President Kovind

| | Nay Pyi Taw
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Peace and stability in Myanmar in India's own interest: President Kovind

Thursday, 13 December 2018 | PTI | Nay Pyi Taw

Peace and stability in Myanmar in India's own interest: President Kovind

India has said that peace and stability in Myanmar are in its own interest as the two countries stressed on the need to maintain security and stability along their borders and vowed not to allow insurgent groups to use their soil for hostile activities against each other side.

In a joint statement issued at the end of President Ram Nath Kovind's official engagements in Myanmar on Thursday, the two countries also called on the world community to end selective and partial approaches to combating terrorism.

During his visit, President Kovind held extensive talks with Myanmar leaders - President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

"The leaders agreed that terrorism constitutes a significant threat to peace and stability in the region and should be confronted in all its forms and manifestations." the statement said, adding that they also called for the expeditious finalisation and adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly.

President Kovind "underlined that peace and stability in Myanmar are equally in India's own interest, and that India stands committed to help Myanmar strengthen democratic institutions and emerge as a democratic federal union," the statement said.

The two sides also stressed on the need to maintain security and stability along the India-Myanmar borders, which is essential for the socio-economic development of the populations living in the border areas, it said.

"Both sides underlined their mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reaffirmed their shared commitment to fight insurgent activity and the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," it said.

They "reiterated that their commitment to not allow insurgent groups to use their soil for hostile activities against the other side is essential for the stability of the border regions and the prosperity of the people residing along the border," it added.

Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

President Kovind appreciated Myanmar's ongoing efforts toward achieving peace and national reconciliation in the country.

"He expressed full support of the Government of India to the on-going peace process being pursued with various ethnic armed organisations," the statement said, without referring to the Rohingya crisis.

Over 720,000 of Myanmar's stateless Muslim minority - Rohingyas - have fled villages in the troubled Rakhine state following a military crackdown in August last year, taking shelter in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

India also handed over the first 50 units of prefabricated houses built in the Rakhine State under the Rakhine State Development Programme funded by it.

India has expressed its support for the agreements reached between Myanmar and Bangladesh for the repatriation of the verified displaced persons from Rakhine State and underlined its readiness to continue to assist in addressing the issue.

During the talks, the two sides reaffirmed their common aspiration for peace, collective prosperity and development of the region and beyond. The leaders agreed to continue exploring new opportunities to expand bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of the peoples of both countries, the statement said.

Both sides welcomed the signing of the MoU on appointing a port operator, which would enable the Sittwe Port and Paletwa IWT infrastructure to be used commercially for the development of the surrounding areas. They agreed to expedite the process for the appointment of an operator for this purpose, it said.

The Sittwe port in Myanmar will connect India's landlocked north-east region to the Bay of Bengal through Mizoram. It will also provide an alternate route to Kolkata.

Both sides reiterated their mutual respect for the already demarcated boundary between the two countries and emphasized the need to resolve amicably outstanding boundary demarcation issues at the earliest, through existing bilateral mechanisms, the statement said.

The two sides also exchanged views on the regional and international situation including the need for enhancing closer bilateral cooperation in various spheres in the broader Indo-Pacific region, with an emphasis on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, transnational crimes and mutually-beneficial development cooperation.

They noted the current level of bilateral trade and investment and agreed that, while robust, it had immense potential for growth in a variety of sectors.

Both sides agreed that there was mutual benefit in promoting greater integration of power and energy supply networks between Myanmar and India, and reviewed ongoing public and private sector initiatives. Myanmar welcomed India's participation in its energy sector and India expressed its interest in participating in future opportunities for exploration and production in the hydrocarbon sector.

The two sides reiterated the importance of reform within the structures of the United Nations. Myanmar reiterated its support for India's efforts to become a permanent member of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council.

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