Sunday, August 1, 2010

Than Shwe State Visit

President Pratibha Patil invited Senior General Than Shwe on a State visit. As part of high-level contacts between India and Burma, Hamid Ansari VP of India visited Burma in February 2009, and Vice Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar Vice Senior General Maung Aye visited India in 2008. Wow, General Maung Aye must really like his title and department. General Shwe received a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Place yourself in Shwe' shoes for a sec, All the top folks in India meet him, Prez, PM, VP, Leader of Opposition. Shwe gets to visit Rajghat, pray at Bodhgaya and the two nations ink few deals. Shwe could not have asked for more, right? Looks like Indian establishment ensured that Shwe returned fully pleased. Burmese media is impressed. Sudha Ramachandran notes that "India's influence over the generals has grown significantly over the past 15 years".No kidding.

During the visit, the Burmese delegation show "deep appreciation for the generous and concessionary credit facilities" given by India to finance significant infrastructure and other projects". The words in the quotes are straight from MEA press release. So they are happy, and what do they do? They ask for more :-). Seriously Burma wants India to assist Burma in IT Development, Industrial development and Infrastructure development. What does India do? It says 'sure do'. No the quoted words are not from MEA, it is mine. Essentially India agrees.

You ask fine, but what about the Kaladan MMTTP? All you need to know is both the countries make all the right noises. No whinning, just little more of 'hum chalenge sath sath' {again it is not a quote from MEA, don't go googling}. After all the singing they sit down tired, but with a smile on the progress of the Indian BRO work on Tamu-Kalaywa-Kalemyo Road connecting Moreh, Manipur to Burma. You think great, but wait there is says India. India provides $60 million grant assistance to revamp the Rhi-Tiddim road. Burma purrs with satisfaction.

1. I & B sign MoU for the creation of Line of Credit of $60million; it was between EXIM Bank of India and Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank.
2. I & B sign a pact on "criminal matters". This will help India get access to insurgents in the NE states. This should also help India and Burma in tackling drug trafficking and borer terrorism. Burma now can deport insurgents to India for trial under Indian laws. This is the first of its kind for Burma, while India has signed with 30 countries. Good eh?
3. I & B fine-tune the alternative trade access route, that is being built by India thru Burma, in the North-East.
4. I & B firm up financing for major connection roads, improve railway infrastructure and telecommunication links.
5. India announces a grant of $10 million for agricultural machinery; Burma then seeks technical assistance.
6. India renews agreement for providing satellite data to Burma.
7. I & B issues a joint statement on the ripeness of oil & gas field exploration.
*. Total goodies promised by India to Burma is $200million (Rs.930 crores).

If your dil maange more on the exact documents that were signed, here you go - I did the googling for you:
a. Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
b. MOU regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of Small Developmental projects.
c. MoU on Information Cooperation
d. Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Science & Technology
e. MoU on Conservation and Restoration of Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar


1. Shwe Talks about Burma elections groundwork.
2. India underlines a broad-based national reconciliation process to Shwe.
3. Shwe donates $11282 to Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, he then visits Sarnath Temple (which is 13kms North East of Varnasi)
4. Shwe meets President Pratibha Patil, VP Hamid Ansari and PM MMS in New Delhi.
5. Shwe visits Tata Motors plant Jamshedpur. The Minister of National Planning and Economic Development U.Soe Thae, along with a delegation, is supposed to have accompanied Shwe. If you are asking "why"; a possible answer is TTM is establishing a plant in Burma expecting to start production of 1000 heavy trucks from 2011.
6. In New Delhi, Shwe visited Rajghat.
7. Shwe, along with a 80 member delegation, visited the IT hub in Hyderabad. They visit L&T Infocity, Bharat Biotech and Salar Jang Museum.


Other countries are making all the usual noises, not worth pointing out here. Same old same old.

Now I want you to think about this, before you sleep.....
Your neighbor invites you and your family. He allows you to pray in his pooja room; then his grandparents, parents and siblings shower all love and affection. Then his uncle gives your kids some 'allowance money' to buy some toys. They present you several gifts including some cement and roof tiles to fix your house. As you keep thanking them, he insists he will send his handymen to fix your drive way and fence and repair your broken tube well.

Now you are not exactly a dumb guy, you realize either your neighbor wants something from you or really one of the best guys on this planet. But you are also reminded about the other burly neighbor who has been doing something very similar for several years. So you take all you can, but when rubber meets the road whom will you support?

You can read the Join Statement at http://meaindia.nic.in/. Let me tell you the PMO website sucks.

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