India-Myanmar Trilateral Dialogue, 19-20 Mar 2019
Opening Remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF

I would like to welcome; Mr Kyee Myint, Member, Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies; Prof Ms Daw Carole Ann Chittha, Member, Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies; Ms Khin Khin Kyaw, Lead Researcher, Institute for Strategy and Policy; and Mr Thein Tun Oo, Executive Director, Thay Nin Ga Institute for Strategic Studies, to the India-Myanmar Track II dialogue. We have the representatives of several Myanmar’s think tanks today. VIF welcomes the opportunity to interact with them.

Myanmar is India’s neighbour on the East. We have centuries old historic and cultural ties. In India, Myanmar is also known as Brahma Desh or the place of Lord Brahma. Buddhism has been nourished and propagated from Myanmar. The Hindu Gods and Goddesses are known in Myanmar. Not long ago, India and Myanmar had a thriving commercial relationship. At one point of time hundreds of thousands of Indian used to live in Yangon and Mandalay where they had gone for livelihood opportunities.

The contemporary developments have not dimmed in any way the strategic importance of India-Myanmar relation for regional peace and prosperity. Many of the ethnic groups on the Indian side share affinities with people of the Myanmar. We share a long border and a free movement zone. The Indian insurgent groups often escaped into the Jungles of the Myanmar. Cooperation between the Indian and Myanmar security agencies is critical for border management and is in the interest of the both sides. While cooperation has improved, much more can be done.

Myanmar is India’s gateway to South-East Asia and also critical for the prosperity of India’s North-East. In this regards India needs to invest in agriculture, industry and other social projects which benefit the local populations. Connectivity is crucial for building and deepening India-Myanmar tie of the future. It should therefore be the endavour on both side that joint infrastructure project and economic activities should be theme to be benefiting the local people in Myanmar.

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