India, Myanmar can be purposeful friends: Acharya
ITANAGAR, Apr 12: Arunachal Pradesh Governor PB Acharya said India and Myanmar can be purposeful and natural friends as they share common traditions and religious practices.
He also sought a clear vision for a stronger relationship between the two countries, after Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Vikram Misri called on him at Raj Bhavan here on Wednesday.
The focus of their discussion was on strengthening the ties between India and Myanmar through the eight-state Northeast.
The governor, reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for development of the Northeast through ‘Act East’ policy, said the people of the region must rise above personal agenda and strengthen social empowerment.
“Road communication and more people-to-people interaction must be established,” he said.
Sharing his experiences in the region since 1968, Acharya said that people from the region must present ground realities in Delhi.
Acharya, who is also the governor of Nagaland, said he would be proposing a medical college cum hospital to be set up near the Nagaland-Myanmar border.
Misri, who is on a tour of four states – Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram – that share international border with Myanmar, discussed issues such as free movement regime with the governor.
State’s First Lady Kavita Acharya and the ambassador’s wife Dolly Misri, Secretary to Governor Vinod P Kavle and his wife Namrata V Kavle were present in the meeting.
Later in the day, Misri called on deputy chief minister (DCM) Chowna Mein in his office at Civil Secretariat.
Mein, in his interaction with the ambassador, advocated stronger trade and cultural exchange between the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. For this, he suggested the selection of a Sister Town each in Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.
The DCM suggested these ‘sister towns’ act as centres for cultural exchange between the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar with programmes held twice a year – one on either side of the border.
Mein further requested Misri to initiate measures to restore Pangsau Pass and Stilwell Road for revitalizing border trade between Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. He asked the ambassador to take up steps to upgrade the Currency Exchange Office and Trade Centre at the
border point. Mein also asked Misri to take up with the governments in Delhi and Naypyidaw (Myanmar capital) the case of the Land Custom Station at Nampong. The station, built by the Centre and State government’s Trade and Commerce Department, has been lying defunct due to negligible trade activities from the Myanmar side.
The DCM also requested Misri to facilitate issuance of visa to the people of Myanmar at Integrated Check Post at Moreh in Manipur and at other border points as many Buddhist pilgrims from Myanmar are willing to come to India.
He further said that good hospital and educational institutions can also be established in the Indian side of the border so that people from Myanmar can avail the benefits.
Misri informed the DCM that the Centre was going to re-activate the Border Hut programmes to boost border trade and cultural exchange between the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. He further stated that the issue of visa for Myanmar citizens has already been taken up with Delhi.
Lamenting that proper linkages could not be established between Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar due to a difficult terrain along the border, Misri suggested the state government should invite chief ministers of the bordering states of Myanmar on winter festivals such as Pangsau Pass Festival to build bilateral , promote cultural and and people-to-people exchanges. He assured he would take up other issues discussed between the governments of India and Myanmar.
Chief Secretary Shakuntala D Gamlin, Principal Secretary (Home) Satya Gopal and Additional Secretary (finance) YW Ringu were during Misri’s interaction with the DCM.