Skip to comments.INDIAN PM IN LANDMARK VISIT TO BURMA
Posted on 06/01/2012 11:05:21 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
For the first time in 25 years, an Indian Prime Minister has visited neighboring Burma, where a newly-elected military government is overseeing a dramatic political transformation, from reclusive pariah state to nascent democracy. India is rushing to capitalize on the historic political and economic opening after witnessing two decades of a steady buildup of Chinese influence in its eastern neighbor. Like their Western counterparts, Indian businessmen have flooded the Burmese capital, believing they will benefit from a home-field advantage: two to three million Indians live in Burma today. In addition to signing 12 bilateral agreements with the Burmese government, including the extension of an Indian credit line of $500 million and agreements on border trade, air service , and energy exploration, PM Singh pledged to double bilateral trade by 2015, from the current total of $1.2 billion. During his two-day stay, Singh also conducted a one-hour visit with opposition leader and renowned democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, in which he invited the leader, recently released from years of house arrest, to give a lecture in New Delhi.
“China is both Myanmar’s most influential foreign neighbour and its most nervous. No country is as deeply entrenched in the economy of Myanmar while being so wary of the political reforms that began there last year. This poses a challenge to India on several levels. Senior Myanmar officials, say diplomatic sources, told their Indian counterparts last year that China was the only external player that could destroy the reform process in one fell swoop. Beijing’s concerns were geopolitical. The fear is that a democratic Myanmar will gravitate towards the United States and become a democratic thorn in China’s southern flank...”
“On 29 May 2012 the official daily of Myanmar New Light of Myanmar in its editorial hailed the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Myanmar in these words: India needs Myanmar, and Myanmar also needs India, and that is the common ground. Though Indian officials visited Myanmar in recent years, an official of the ranking of Prime Minister visited the country after 25 years, the last being Rajiv Gandhi. Much has changed in intervening years, the military rulers in the South East Asian nation have opened the path of reforms in the country, allowed the leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi to visit abroad, and conducted...”