Delegates from Manipur; Sagaing Region, the administrative region of Myanmar, located in the north-western part of the country; Mandalay Region, located in the centre of Myanmar bordering Sagaing Region; India-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and the Sagaing Promoters Group met in Mandalay on Monday last to discuss cross-border and regional cooperation.
The Indian government and the Indian business community has been making efforts to strengthen their relationship with Myanmar and other ASEAN countries, as part of steps to invigorate India’s Act East Policy.
During discussions at the meeting, the participants agreed on various aspects in the sectors like tourism, border trade between India and Myanmar, health sector, media and others.
In the tourism sector, the delegates agreed upon facilitating tourists of both countries opening visa on arrival facilities at Moreh in Manipur and at Tamu in Myanmar.
People in Sagaing Region and adjacent states who are predominantly Buddhists keep travelling to the Bodh Gaya in Bihar via Yangon which is pretty expensive.
Delegates mulled the idea of opening up services at the Imphal airport, which is only 110 KMs from the border, to hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims to Bodh Gaya.
The delegates also decided to introduce one direct flight from Imphal to Mandalay that may further connect Bangkok/Chaingmai and Kunming.
In the health sector also, the two neighbouring counties decided on working out certain facilities like allowing people in the border areas of Myanmar to visit health centres in Manipur without passport and visa by special arrangement, as most of the villagers do not have passports.
The participants deliberated on setting up a hospital in Tamu with the assistance of India or through PPP.
The meeting also decided to ease trade issues between the two countries so as to legalize trading of several products that are presently going on illegally.
Particularly, the delegates decided to formulate policies for trading of Chinese products on land route through Moreh in India or Tamu in Myanmar.
The delegates also urged granting of permission for movement of vehicles like cars and trucks from both Mandalay and Sagaing to Imphal and Guwahati via Tamu/Moreh and vice-versa which would reduce cost of transportation, travel time and also other inconveniences.
The participants also mooted the idea of encompassing Yunan Province of China, Mandalay and Sagaing of Myanmar and the north-eastern region of India as an Integrated Economic Zone.
The meeting also decided to have formal government representations from both countries in future business meetings.
The meeting also unanimously decided to have a common platform for the journalists, editors, and other media persons of both the countries and to include media related commodities such as newsprint, papers, printing machines, inks, electronic equipment and others in border trade between India and Myanmar.
The meeting also decided to have regular interaction between journalists of the two countries and introducing exchange programme for mass communication.