Sushma to visit Myanmar this month

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Myanmar on August 22 following the swearing in earlier this year of the new government of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), it was announced on Thursday.

“During her visit, the External Affairs Minister will be calling on U Htin Kyaw, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and holding discussions with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister of Myanmar,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“Discussions are expected to focus on the rich bilateral content of the relationship as well as plans for the upcoming BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in India, building on the comprehensive discussions during Foreign Office Consultations held in New Delhi on August 9, 2016,” it stated.

The statement said that India and Myanmar shared close relations “with a robust development cooperation programme in areas such as agriculture, IT, human resource development, infrastructure development, culture, etc”.

“The visit reaffirms India’s commitment to heightened partnership with Myanmar in areas accorded priority by the new government of Myanmar,” it added.

During the visit, Sushma Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and other senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs.

India and Myanmar reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral issues during the 15th round of Foreign Office Consultations here including high level visits, security and defence-related issues, boundary matters and border management, trade and commerce, development cooperation, connectivity, cultural and consular matters.

They also exchanged views on issues of mutual interest at regional and multilateral forums.

The consultations were of special significance as these were the first institutionalised exchanges between India and Myanmar after the swearing in of the new NLD government in Myanmar on March 30 this year.

In the intervening period, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited Myanmar as a special envoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 16, 2016 and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman led a high-level business delegation to the eastern neighbour for the India-Myanmar Business Conclave on May 18-20, 2016.

Last month, in a meeting with Minister of State for External Affairs on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Suu Kyi said that she looked forward to visiting India.

As her country’s constitution bars her from becoming President, the Nobel peace laureate serves as the State Counsellor and Foreign Minister.



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