Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai (30.05.2012)
India and Myanmar have pledged to complete the road link from Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar by 2016.
The agreement was reached during the visit by Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Myanmar which ended on May 29, 2012.
The road will complete one of the most important missing links in the entire Asian Highway network and give a significant boost to trade, tourism and transportation between Thailand and many landlocked parts of Asia, including the restive Northeastern region of India.
Under the agreement, which also includes the extension of a US$500 million line of credit to Myanmar, India is to repair/upgrade 71 bridges on the Tamu-Kalewa friendship Road, and also upgrade the Kalewa-Yargyi road segment to highway standard, while Myanmar will upgrade the Yargyi-Monywa stretch to highway standard by 2016.
While it will enhance the economic and investment potential of Myanmar, as the two governments desire, the road will also accelerate the deforestation of Myanmar and worsen problems related to drug-running and organised crime syndicates.
The two leaders also welcomed the preparations that have been made towards organizing the International Conference on Buddhist Heritage in Myanmar in December 2012 with the cooperation of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of Religious Affairs of Myanmar and the Sitagu World Buddhist Association.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the ongoing pace of work on the project for conservation and restoration of the Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar by the Archaeological Survey of India which is expected to be completed over the next 2 years.
Furthermore, the Indian Prime Minister invited the President of Myanmar to visit India on mutually convenient dates, which will be decided through diplomatic channels. The President of Myanmar accepted the invitation.