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India promises whole-hearted support to Myanmar

India promises whole-hearted support to Myanmar

New Delhi : India today promised all possible support to Myanmar's new government in ushering in a new pathway of development as the two sides resolved to step up overall engagement and "actively" cooperate in combating terrorism and insurgent activities in the region.

In wide-ranging talks with Myanmarese President U Htin Kyaw, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed that India will stand by with Myanmar at "every step" of its new journey and that it wants to take the ties to "new heights".

Modi's assurance to Htin Kyaw, here on his first foreign trip after assuming the top office in April, came amid China's diplomatic offensive in reaching out to Myanmar's new dispensation. Earlier this month, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's most powerful leader and Foreign Minister, chose to visit China first over India.

"Let me assure you that at every step of the way 1.25 billion people of India will stand by (with) you- Both as partners and as friends," Modi said adding "A bright future for Myanmar is not just your objective. It is also our aspiration."

Today's talks were first top-level engagement between the two countries after government of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy came to power following the historic elections that brought curtains down on decades-long military rule.

The two sides signed four MoUs to boost cooperation in areas of connectivity, medicine and renewable energy, besides agreeing to deepen ties in a range of sectors, including agriculture, banking and power.

Reading out a statement to media with Htin Kyaw by his side, Modi said both sides recognised that each other's security interests are closely aligned and the two countries agreed to work together to combat terror and insurgent activities in the region.

"We recognised that our security interests are closely aligned. And, we agreed on the need to remain sensitive to each other's strategic interests and concerns.

"To this end, President and I agreed to work together for the safety and security of our people. And, actively cooperate to combat the common challenges of terrorism and insurgent activity in our region," Modi said.

Myanmar, considered one of India's strategic neighbours, shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-infested Nagaland and Manipur.

India has been raising with Myanmar the issue of several northeast militant groups having training camps in that country.

Ways to combat the insurgent groups active in northeast and ensuring better border management were deliberated upon.

Both sides also deliberated on maritime security cooperation in the Bay of Bengal. .