In his first overseas trip after assuming the top office, Myanmar President, U Htin Kyaw, visited India from August 27-30, 2016. The visit focused on the 1,600 km-long Indo-Myanmar border and maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal, border management and the trade opportunities for both countries.
Myanmar president was accompanied by the First Lady Daw Su Su Lwin, 5 ministers, and a 31-member delegation.
Both Myanmar and India signed 4 agreements on traditional medicine, renewable energy and construction of bridges and approach road in Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa section of the Trilateral Highway and upgradation of Kalewa-Yagyi road section of the same highway.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Myanmar president and expressed solidarity and support to the new government in Myanmar. PM Modi conveyed that India would support Myanmar at ‘every step’ of its new journey and that it wants to take the ties to ‘new heights’.
The joint statement by India and Myanmar accorded priority to defence and security cooperation. Both sides stressed on the importance of border management along Manipur and Nagaland, maritime security in the Bay of Bengal, and enhanced people-to-people linkages to facilitate the movement of people across land borders of the two countries.
The proposal for border haats for trade and opportunities in agro-business cooperation was also mentioned in the joint statement.
On the sidelines of the bilateral talks, President U Htin Kyaw offered prayers at the Mahabodhi Temple and also visited the Myanmar monastery, Archaeological Museum and Daijokyo Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya. He also paid homage to the ‘Immortal Soldier’ at India Gate and Mahatama Gandhi at Raj Ghat, and visited majestic Taj Mahal in Agra before concluding his India visit.
“Both countries share a heritage of religious, linguistic and ethnic ties. Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin. Further, Myanmar is our gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India has been seeking greater economic integration through India’s ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ Policy,” the joint statement stated.
John Kerry in India - India, US Ink LEMOA
By Diplomatist Bureau
The US Secretary of State John F Kerry was on a State Visit to India in August 2016 to co-chair the Second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman co-chaired the Second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue with the US Secretary of State John F Kerry and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
Both sides reviewed recent headways made following PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington this year and expressed continued commitment towards furthering the bilateral engagement between India and the US.
Interacting with students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, John Kerry touched on a range of issues that included terrorism, energy crisis, climate change and of course, Indo-US partnerships.
India and the US also signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which will give the militaries of both countries access to each other’s facilities for supplies and repairs. India has signed second of the four ‘foundational agreements’, which the US enters into with its defence partners; General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was the very first of them, signed in the year 2002. The remaining two - Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geospatial Intelligence and Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) are pending.
A joint statement by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ash Carter was released, which stated that ‘LEMOA will facilitate additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange.’
It was maintained that LEMOA is an enabling agreement and not a compulsion or obligation, neither does it involve allowing military bases; and every case will be required an individual clearance and the services or supplies accessed will be on a reimbursable basis as per the new pact.