New Delhi: India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, who was on a two-day official visit to Myanmar, held discussions on bilateral issues relating to border management and security.

Taking to Twitter, Ministry of External Affairs’ Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “Foreign Secretary @AmbVMKwatra paid a working visit to Myanmar on November 20-21. Held discussions on important bilateral issues relating to border management, security and ongoing bilateral cooperation projects & India’s support to democratic transition in Myanmar.”

The friendship between India and Myanmar is age-old and has stood the test of time, sources in the MEA said, adding both countries share strong historical, cultural, religious and trade ties.

People from both countries developed and managed to sustain trust and cordial relations so far, the sources further said, adding that the same can be gauged from the fact that not a single case of conflict has been reported yet despite the two countries sharing over 1,600 kms of land border as well as maritime border in the Bay of Bengal.

New Delhi calls Myanmar an important pillar in its important ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy and promised to extend all kinds of support to help its neighbour overcome economic and health challenges.

India has been building roads and bridges, schools, and healthcare centres in Myanmar under the India-Myanmar Border Area Development Programme. The annual grant of $5 million has elevated the lives of people living in around 82 villages in Myanmar.

India is building $484-million Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project, which will connect India’s Kolkata port with Myanmar’s Sittwe port. While promoting regional connectivity and development, these projects would also create employment opportunities in Myanmar, especially in the conflict-ridden Chin and Rakhine provinces.

Moreover, India has decided to provide debt service relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative to help Myanmar minimise the impact of Covid-19.

Myanmar has also emerged as a key defence partner of India, accounting for 50 per cent of arms exports from the country.

In 2021, Myanmar also received a remote-controlled, air-defence station from India, which would improve its capability to counter the enemy’s airborne penetration. In order to boost its naval power, India also gifted Myanmar a submarine in 2020.

India is also a top pilgrimage draw for the people of Myanmar. The neighbours were also part of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) - an erstwhile forum of countries that decided not to align with any power block post World War II.

India’s ‘Look East Policy, under the Narendra Modi government also has a special place for Myanmar, owing to its cruciual geostrategic location.

India is working on implementing a variety of projects in the neighbouring country. These range from building railway lines, and hydroelectric plants to establishing education institutes, exploration of oil to developing multimodal corridors.

Now both countries are pushing for greater cooperation in the field of trade and security.