Manmohan Singh, who was accorded an impressive guard of honour in this new Myanmar capital, is the first Indian prime minister to visit the resource-rich country in 25 years. Sein is a former general who has introduced dramatic reforms in the country.
India looks forward to inking a slew of agreements with Myanmar during the three-day visit.
“We will consider new initiatives and define a roadmap for the further development of our cooperation in the years ahead,” the prime minister had said before leaving for Myanmar Sunday.
He said he would focus on trade and investment, development of border areas and improving connectivity among other things in his talks with Myanmar leaders.
The prime minister is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and senior officials.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said that the foundation for Manmohan Singh’s visit was laid when Thein Sein visited India last year.
He said Indian and Myanmar leaders will discuss new initiatives to lay out a roadmap regarding security, connectivity, human resource development and academic exchanges.
Manmohan Singh’s visit will be a signal to India Inc to do business with and in Myanmar, a country rich in natural resources and home to 54 million people.
India-Myanmar trade is currently pegged at just $1.2 billion. New Delhi is looking at doubling it by 2015.
The last prime minister to have visited Myanmar was the late Rajiv Gandhi in 1987.