India signs MoU with Myanmar, to help bring normalcy to strategic region amid Rohingya crisis

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Rakhine province of Myanmar is of strategic importance to India as India is involved in several infrastructure projects to counter Chinese influence.

India has stood by its commitment to help bring back normalcy in the crisis affected Rakhine province in Myanmar by signing a Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) on Rakhine state development program. The MoU was signed by the Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement  U Soe Aung.

“This MoU is the first Government to Government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focused on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State. This is intended to help the Government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons”, the MEA statement said.

The meeting and the proposal comes at the back of massive exodus of the Rohingyas from the Rakhine State because of the military operation in the region. It led to colossal destruction of property, loss of lives and rendering over six lakh Rohingya population as refugees in Bangladesh.

The Rakhine State is of strategic importance to India since there are ongoing infrastructural projects that need to be completed and came up for discussions during the Foreign Secretary’s meetings with various officials and the leadership.

“Issues regarding the operation and maintenance of Sittwe port and the road from Paletwa- Zorinpui were reviewed. Other key projects such as the Rhi- Tiddim road project, the Trilateral Highway road from Kalewa to Yargyi, the project to build 69 bridges on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa road, the Yamethin Police Training Centre and hospital projects, etc., were also discussed”, said the statement.

India has proposed “a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of returning people.”

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar who was on a day’s visit to Myanmar on December 20  held meetings with the top-most leadership of Myanmar as a follow up to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the country in September this year.

During his visit Foreign Secretary called on the State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi as well along with other top leaders of Myanmar.

Source: India Today

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