New Delhi: Foreign minister SM Krishna will start a two-day visit to Myanmar on Monday to “take stock” of economic and strategic cooperation between the countries, a senior official said Sunday.
The visit will be India’s the first high level engagement with Myanmar’s newly-elected nominally civilian government, following the military ostensibly handing over authority in March after almost 50 years in power.
India shared close ties with Myanmar’s military regime and began courting the junta in the mid-1990s as security, energy and strategic priorities came to the fore.
As well as needing the Myanmar military’s help to counter Indian separatists along their common border, India is eyeing oil and gas fields and hydroelectric projects in the country.
It is also eager to counter China’s growing influence in Myanmar.
Krishna and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao will meet their counterparts “to take stock of our broad based engagement with Myanmar” and to “get a better feel of the priorities and the outlook of the new government,” a government official told reporters.
Security co-operation and numerous joint projects will be on the agenda, said the official, requesting anonymity.
Another government official added that no meeting has been scheduled between the Indian minister and Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.