Kovind arrives in Myanmar for high level engagements
President Ram Nath Kovind arrived here on Monday on a five-day visit to Myanmar during which he will hold talks with his Myanmarese counterpart U Win Myint and state counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit from December 10 to 14.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that President Kovind and First Lady Savita arrived at Nay Pyi Taw International Airport where they were welcomed by U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation and Myo Thein Gyi, Union Minister for Education.
The president's visit will continue India's high level engagements with Myanmar under the rubric of 'Act East Policy' and 'Neighbourhood First Policy', Kumar said.
President Kovind's Myanmar visit comes amid China's foray into the southeast Asian country with which it has signed a mega port deal.
China last month clinched the multi-billion-dollar deal to build a port at a strategic Kyaukpyu town along the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar, its third project in India's neighbourhood after Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Kovind will have his first engagement on Tuesday during which he will hold talks with U Win Myint and Suu Kyi, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in New Delhi last week.
The president will visit the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education and the Rice Bio-park, both of which have been funded with Indian assistance on December 12, Gokhale said.
Kovind and the First Lady will travel to Yangoon and lay wreath at the Martyrs Mausoleum, where Gen Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi rests, on the same day. They will also visit the Shwedagon Pagoda.
The president will also interact with the surviving veterans of the Indian National Army (INA).
On December 13, the president will visit the Shri Kali Temple and also the 'mazhar' (shrine) of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor who was exiled to Myanmar and died in Yangoon.
He will visit the Dhamma Joti Vipassana Meditation Centre and inaugurate the 'Enterprise India' exhibitions in which 45 Indian companies are expected to participate.
The foreign secretary said that Myanmar was a "close neighbour" and served India as a link to Southeast Asia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar last year, while Suu Kyi visited India in January for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.
Late last year, the two countries signed the Rakhine State Development Programme, designed to assist the Myanmarese government in Rakhine to build housing infrastructure for the return of the displaced Rohingyas.
In the first phase, 250 units have been planned and through virtual means, the president will be handing over the first 50 units, Gokhale said.
According to the UNICEF, as of April 2018, an estimated 6,93,000 Rohingyas have been driven into Bangladesh, of which over half of them are children, after the violence in the Rakhine state. India has over 40,000 Rohingyas.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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