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Myanmar won't allow anti-India activities from its soil: President

PTI 11 Aug 2014, 21:41:00 PM IST
Nay Pyi Taw: President U Thein Sein today assured India that Myanmar will never allow its territory to be used for anti-India activities as visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raised serious concern over some North Eastern militant outfits taking shelter in this country.  

The issue was raised by Swaraj during a meeting with her Myanmarese counterpart U Wunna Maung in which both the leaders reviewed the bilateral ties.

“I raised the issue of Indian insurgent groups and told them that though the political leadership is again and again saying that their territory will not be used for terrorist activities, but on the ground, the situation is different,” she told reporters.

Swaraj said she told the Myanmarese Foreign Minister that the insurgent groups are not only security threat to India but they are security threat to his country as well.  The External Affairs Minister also raised the issue with Myanmar's President U Thein Sein when she called on him.  

“The President categorically said that Myanmar will never allow its territory to be used for anything that is inimical to India's interests,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said.  

He said both sides would focus on operationalising an MOU which provides for intelligence sharing and cooperation between security forces of the two neighbours.  

A number of northeastern states have been voicing concern over the issue saying a number of militant outfits active in certain states have bases in Myanmar.  India shares around 1,600 kms of border with Myanmar and most of it is unfenced.

North East militant outfits United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and a number of other insurgent groups are reported to have training camps in northern Myanmar.

The two sides deliberated on various issues including ways to increase bilateral trade and investment and improve road, sea and aerial connectivity.

Swaraj sought early implementation of trilateral highway project between India, Myanmar and Thailand and suggested flight services from Delhi to Yangon via Bodh Gaya.

The 3,200 km trilateral highway project will link India, Myanmar and Thailand and open up connectivity with other ASEAN countries.

Swaraj also suggested setting up of a Joint Consultative Committee between the two countries to have a platform to discuss various issues and suggested that besides Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of both the countries can also participate in it.

She also suggested organising a Festival of Myanmar in India to reflect the cultural linkages between the two countries.

Asked whether India was concerned over growing Chinese influence over Myanmar, she said India has a good relation with that country and that it was not an issue.

She, however, said what ever steps are required to improve trade ties between India and Myanmar should be taken.  We have good equation with China as well. No country can challenge anybody. I talked to traders and they never raised it.

A group of India community leaders and traders had also called on Swaraj and asked to negotiate a bilateral investment promotion agreement with Myanmar. They also sought issuance of Visa for one year against current practice of granting it for six months for business purposes.