Myanmar, India boost bilateral collaboration

123,000 Rohingya enter Bangladesh in desperate need for shelter food

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India shares Myanmar's concern about "extremist violence" in its Rakhine state where security forces have been engaged in a bloody battle against Rohingya insurgents, forcing thousands of people to flee neighbouring Bangladesh and India. Modi will also hold wide-ranging talks with Myanmar's State Counsellor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday.

Mr Modi's first bilateral visit here comes at a time when the Myanmarese government led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi is facing global pressure over the 1,25,000 Rohingya Muslims that have poured into Bangladesh after Myanmar's military launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state.

Modi is now in the second leg of his two-nation visit.

"We don't want any more migrants, North-East shouldn't be used for further shelter of anybody including Rohingya Muslims", he said, echoing what appears to be the policy of the NDA government for the rest of the country too. He noted that peace and stability in Myanmar are of the highest priority to India and reiterated India's continued support to Myanmar in consolidating democratic institutions in the country and for the emergence of a democratic Federal Republic, the statement said.

The Prime Minister will pay a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar's Yangon.

Speaking with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Suu Kyi blamed Rohingya militants, who attacked police posts in August, for spreading false information about the crisis with the intention of destabilising the region. India shares a 1,600-km-long land border with Myamnar. Ahead of his visit, Modi had said India and Myanmar were looking at strengthening existing cooperation in areas of security and counter-terrorism, trade and investment, infrastructure and energy, and culture.

"In the Kaladan (multimodal transport) project, work on the Sittwe port and the Paletwa Inland Waterways Terminal has been completed", he said, adding that work on the road component of the project has also started.

On her part, Suu Kyi thanked India for the strong stand it took against the threat of terrorism on Myanmar's soil.

The project is created to link Sittwe port in Myanmar, which India helped develop, with the the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram. He had earlier come here in 2014 to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-India Summit.

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