India, Myanmar joint panel meeting on Friday

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Against the backdrop of the June 9 Indian army surgical strike on northeast militants along their border, India and Myanmar will hold their first Joint Consultative Commission meeting here on Friday.

Co-chaired by Myanmar Foreign Minister U. Wunna Maung Lwin and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the JCC is a “recently created mechanism” between both countries. Officials of various other Indian ministries, including the defence and home ministries, would attend the meeting, said sources.

The involvement of the other ministries and institutions is expected to give a boost to the bilateral relations.

Wunna Maung Lwin on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

During the meeting, Modi fondly recalled his visit to Myanmar in November 2014 to attend the EAS/ASEAN Summits, and his meeting with President U Thein Sein at the time.

Modi said India attaches the highest priority to its relations with Myanmar, and conveyed India’s commitment to deepen the bilateral relationship in all areas, including in political, economic and security spheres and people to people contacts, said an official statement.

He reaffirmed India’s position as a reliable partner in Myanmar’s development and called for greater bilateral collaboration in agricultural technology, research and energy sector.

Modi also highlighted the importance of Myanmar for peace and stability in the region, and for India’s connectivity with southeast Asia.

Wunna Maung Lwin briefed Modi on progress in bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, health and development projects.

Accepting the invitation extended by President U Thein Sein, Modi said that he looked forward to an early visit to Myanmar, said the statement.

This first JCC meeting will review progress on bilateral initiatives in various sectors, identify thrust areas and give directions for further growth of the bilateral partnership. The meeting would also provide a useful opportunity for exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The Myanmar minister is to visit the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi and also visit Jaipur with his delegation.

The Indian Army carried out strikes on camps of northeast militants in early June along the border in retaliation for the June 4 ambush by militants on an Army convoy in which 18 soldiers were killed in Manipur.

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