India, Myanmar explore trade in national currencies as FS meets junta chief

India and Myanmar have explored the possibility of trade in national currencies and establishing direct maritime connectivity when Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra called on PM and junta Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw.

“At the meeting, they frankly exchanged views on cooperation in security, peace and tranquilli­ty at the border region of both countries, further promotion of cooperation, cooperation in de­fence measures, situations of further enhancement of bilateral relations, trade promotion and increase of investment, imple­mentation of Kaladan Multimodal Project and prospects for direct maritime trade measures, fur­ther improvement of the border region, efforts for the rupee/ kyat direct payment in the bi­lateral trade sector,” according to a statement issued by the Myanmar government following Kwatra’s visit on Sunday and Monday.

The two sides also discussed efforts of Myanmar to improve relations with the international community including neighbour­ing countries.

Interestingly, the two sides, according to the Myanmar government, discussed strengthening closer collabora­tion in regional and multilateral contexts including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the United Nations. The visit by Kwatra happened when the Sino-Pak axis has developed defence industrial links with the Myanmar junta.
The MEA statement noted, “During his meetings with the senior leadership of Myanmar, Foreign Secretary discussed maintenance of security and stability in the border areas of India and Myanmar; raised the issue of human trafficking by international crime syndicates in the Myawaddy area of Myanmar in which many Indian nationals have been caught and reviewed bilateral development cooperation projects.”

Foreign secretary expressed India’s continued support to people-centric socio-economic developmental projects, including those along the India-Myanmar border areas, as well as India’s commitment towards an expeditious implementation of ongoing connectivity initiatives such as the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

He also reiterated India’s commitment to continue with the projects under Rakhine state development programme and border area development programme for the benefit of the people of Myanmar. India and Myanmar share a long land border of over 1600 km and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

Myanmar is critical for India’s Act East Policy and safeguarding security interests in the Northeastern states. The Indian military maintains strong ties with its Myanmar counterpart.

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