Nay Pyi Taw, May 28 : Seeking to elevate India’s ties with resource-rich Myanmar, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here today on a historic visit during which the two sides will chart out a roadmap and take initiatives to bolster relations in several areas, including energy, trade and connectivity, reports PTI.
Singh, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in 25 years, will hold talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during the three-day trip.
India sees Myanmar as a strategic asset for a closer connection with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc as well as a key partner in counter-insurgency and economic development initiatives in its North East border areas.
An energy-hungry India is also eying Myanmar’s large oil and natural gas reserves and is looking at countering China’s influence in the Southeast Asian country.
Speaking to reporters here, Singh said he was looking forward to meeting the Myanmar leadership and opposition leader Suu Kyi in the next two days.
“We have centuries of religious and civilizational ties with the people of Myanmar and I’m looking forward to my talks here”, he said.
During the junta rule, China and India were the main countries that Myanmar interacted with.
Though India has a good presence in Myanmar in terms of various projects, China has been very pushy in energy as well as infrastructure sectors besides others.
Sources said India is ready to deal with government of the day in Myanmar to secure its own national interests in terms of security in insurgency-hit northeastern States, a problem which makes Myanmar’s support critical as many ultras have taken shelter here in the country.