Foster stronger ties with Myanmar: Rio
DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 8
CHIEF Minister Neiphiu Rio has called for stronger bilateral ties between Myanmar and India, increased mutual cooperation, more trade and commerce and active people-to-people contact. He hoped that democracy will progress in Myanmar, contributing towards uplift of human society in all aspects.
Rio was in Myanmar on a five-day maiden visit from February 3. He returned to Nagaland today.Addressing the Myanmar leaders during his visit, Rio extended the fullest cooperation and assistance of India, especially Nagaland, towards the neighbouring country and its people. He highlighted that the north eastern region of India and Myanmar are at the core of India’s Look East Policy and hoped that this region would become a place of vital importance in the global economy, particularly in the ASEAN region.
During his visit, Rio met Myanmar Union Border Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Thet Naing, Speaker of Myanmar Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann, chief minister of Mandalay U Ye Mint and chief minister of Sagaing U Thar Aye, Vice President of the Union Solidarity Party, Naga Myanmar Members of Parliament, civil society representatives, entrepreneurs, and officials of the Indian Embassy led by the Ambassador of India to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Deputy Chief of Mission Sailas Thangal and Indian Council General of Mandalay Dr Madan Mohan Sethi.
Extending goodwill of India, especially from the people of Nagaland, to the people of Myanmar, the CM said his visit to Myanmar was to promote peace, better understanding and development.
Highlighting the fact that the Nagaland government has been urging both the governments of India and Myanmar to focus on the suffering of the Nagas in Myanmar, Rio appreciated Myanmar for the recognition that was accorded to the Nagas of Myanmar in the form of the Naga Self Autonomous Zone and also appreciated New Delhi for the Prime Minister’s aid package of 25 million US dollars to Myanmar, over a five year period, meant for the border regions, specially the Naga areas.
Speaker of Myanmar Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann, in his meeting with Rio, described the the Nagaland Chief Minister’s visit as historic and important. He appreciated Rio for his efforts towards making sincere efforts for development and progress of the Naga inhabited areas in Myanmar. He appealed to Rio and the Nagaland government for cooperation and support in implementing development and improving bilateral ties witch India.
The speaker further appreciated governments of Nagaland and India for implementing development initiatives in the Naga areas especially in development of roads and connectivity.
In his meeting with Chief Minister of Mandalay, Rio expressed the need to make efforts towards increased ties between the people of Myanmar and India for confidence building measures.
The two chief ministers agreed that cultural exchanges and bringing the people towards common platforms would enhance the relationship between the people. The meeting was also attended by the Mandalay ministers for agriculture and for social affairs.
In the meeting with Myanmar Union Minister of Border Affairs, Rio highlighted the need to improve connectivity in the Naga areas and informed the Myanmar government that on the Indian side of the border, roads have been constructed at all the meeting points within Nagaland and urged for road construction within Myanmar to be expedited.
He informed that the Prime Minister of India would be visiting Myanmar in March 2014 and expressed confidence that India would make more commitments towards assisting Myanmar in its march towards democracy and human progress.
The Nagaland chief minister stated in his meetings that Nagas want peace, development and progress. Noting that this feeling was the strongest amongst the youth, he expressed satisfaction that on both sides of the border, the political groups and undergrounds were in ceasefire with the governments of Myanmar and India. He hoped that the dialogues would bring political settlement and speed up the process of development. “I bring goodwill from the people of India and Nagaland”, Rio emphasized.
In the meeting with the Chief Minister of Sagaing, Rio appreciated the efforts of the Sagaing government for according importance and recognition to the Naga Self Administered Zone. Both the chief ministers agreed that efforts must be made to ensure that people on both sides of the border must be able to move without needing visas and that confidence building measures must be enhanced. The meeting was also attended by the Sagaing ministers for livestock, social development and transport including the president of the Sagaing Parliament.
Rio also had meetings with the Myanmar Naga parliamentarians and representatives of the church. He urged them to make tireless efforts to bring peace, improve education, health care and connectivity and make every possible contribution to unite the people. He assured them the support and goodwill of the Naga people on the Indian side of the border and stated that every effort would be made towards improving the overall status of the Naga people in Myanmar.
Rio also inaugurated a cafe-cum-restaurant at Mandalay which is being run and operated by young Naga entrepreneurs. He extended formal invitation to the Myanmar Speaker of Parliament and Chief Ministers of Mandalay and Sagaing to visit India and Nagaland.
Rio has also been invited to attend the Naga festival at Khamti along with Saigaing and Mandalay Chief Ministers. He further had a fruitful interaction with renowned historian from Mandalay Prof. Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, who is a Member of the Myanmar Historical Commission. The Chief Minister has also invited him to visit Nagaland and deliver a lecture to the student community of the State.
As a follow up to Rio’s visit to Myanmar, Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhaya will be visiting Nagaland in April. Mukhopadhaya will take a tour of the border regions in order to make future programmes and projects more effective and people oriented.
Rio has extended his sincere appreciation to the Myanmar government and the governments of Mandalay and Sagiang for making his first ever historic visit a grand success and path breaking in several aspects. He also extended appreciation to the Indian Embassy in Myanmar, the Naga Myanmar Parliamentarians, civil society, church leaders and entrepreneurs for their fullest cooperation and assistance in making the visit highly fruitful. His delegation to Myanmar included Parliamentary Secretaries Yitachu and CL John, Commissioner & Secretary to Chief Minister, L Kier, Adviser to Chief Minister Abu Metha and PRO to Chief Minister Neibalie Rio.