New Delhi, May 27: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he will seek to strengthen relations with Myanmar during a three-day visit starting Sunday.
“We will consider new initiatives and define a roadmap for the further development of our cooperation in the years ahead,” he said in a statement released hours before his departure.
Manmohan Singh is the first Indian prime minister to visit Myanmar in a quarter century.
The Indian leader hailed Myanmar’s transition to democracy and steps taken by President Thein Sein for a broad-based and inclusive reconciliation process vis-a-vis the opposition.
He said he will focus on trade and investment, development of border areas and improving connectivity among other things in his talks with Myanmar leaders.
“India welcomes Myanmar’s transition to democratic governance… We stand ready to share our democratic experiences with Myanmar.”
Manmohan Singh said India hoped to sign a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding to strengthen bilateral cooperation besides promoting people-to-people contacts.
He said the visit will provide an opportunity to review the progress in the implementation of decisions taken during the Myanmar president’s visit to India in October last year.
The prime minister will fly into Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw, where he will meet the newly-elected democratic government’s top leadership, apart from a summit meeting with Thein Sein.
In Yangon, the largest citymar, he will meet New Delhi-educated opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who a month ago was elected to parliament.
To cherish the shared history and culture, Manmohan Singh will visit the historic Shwedagon Pagoda, a testament to 2,600 years of Buddhist heritage, and the mazar of the last emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar.
He will also address a cross-section of Myanmar society and interact with the Indian and Indian-origin community.
“India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Myanmar, which is a close friend and neighbour.
“Recent years have witnessed significant strengthening and expansion of our bilateral relations.
“We remain committed to a close, cooperative and mutually beneficial partnership with the government and people of Myanmar,” he added.