Myanmar Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung Photograph:( WION )
"Myanmar maintains good neighborliness and you know, we will never allow our territory to be used by insurgents against other neighbouring countries and we will never support them," said Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung.
Myanmar's Ambassador to India Moe Kyaw Aung has said that his country won't allow any insurgents to use its territory against India. Speaking exclusively to our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Myanmar envoy Moe Kyaw Aung said, "Myanmar maintains good neighborliness and you know, we will never allow our territory to be used by insurgents against other neighbouring countries and we will never support them". He recalled how last year, Myanmar handed over 22 insurgents to India after a security operation.
On the connectivity front, Envoy Moe said distance between Kolkata and Sittwe ports was less than 500 nautical miles and that could pave way for "coastal shipping which can transport goods from countries effectively and cheaply". In the first week of October Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had visited the country, and since the visit took place amid the COVID pandemic, envoy highlighted that both sides were serious about bilateral co-operation.
Sidhant Sibal: What are the current status of ties?
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: Myanmar, India enjoy very friendly relation for ages, thanks to geographical proximity and share cultural heritage and close links, recently Act East Policy and Neighbourhood First Policy of India and good neighborliness policy of Myanmar greatly contributed to good bilateral relations. Bilateral relations have reached to new level thanks to efforts of leaders of the 2 countries.
Sidhant Sibal: India's Foreign Secretary and Army Chief visited your country. How do you see the visit?
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: Amid the COVID crisis, high-level visit between the 2 countries happened. It shows, both sides put great importance to the visit, and how serious they are for bilateral cooperation between the 2 countries. The delegation of Foreign Secretary and Army Chief had a meeting with state counsellor and commander in chief of defence services and discussion covered range of areas like trade, investment, security and defence cooperation, power generation, oil and gas, technological transfer and natural disaster management. Lot of areas, covered and I expect from those discussions fruitful outcome will come.
Sidhant Sibal: On connectivity front, how things are progressing. Is Sittwe set to be operationalised next year?
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: Sittwe is part of Kaladan Multimodal transport project, and that project connects northeast India to Myanmar via Kaladan river in Myanmar and access to bay of Bengal. So it's very important, and the Sittwe port will provide access to the products of northeastern state to the Indian Ocean and via Bay of Bengal products can reach mainland India. Also it will greatly be conducive to bilateral ties between India and Myanmar because using that route export of India and Myanmar can be sent effectively. Apart from this, distance between Sittwe port and Kolkata port is less than 500 nautical miles, it will pave way for coastal shipping which can transport goods from countries effectively and cheaply. It will increase bilateral trade. Another important infrastructure project is trilateral highway connecting Northeastern India with Myanmar and Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.
Sidhant Sibal: Defence and security has seen increased focus. You have sent 22 insurgents back to India...
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: Myanmar maintains good neighborliness and you know, we will never allow our territory to be used by insurgents against other neighbouring countries and we will never support them. In 2019, a security operation took place at India-Myanmar border. We handed over insurgents to India and it shows, Myanmar's friendliness and good neighborliness to India.
Sidhant Sibal: Defence is also gaining focus, India will give you submarines. If you can tell us, when will they give u..
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: I think, we have good relations between the 2 armed forces. And exchanges of visit, procurement of military hardware happens in terms of cooperation. We have good cooperation between 2 armed forces. Myanmar is opposed to terrorism of all forms and manifestations, so that is one of the areas we can cooperate in. We have to make sure, terror organisations, do not operate in our countries.
Sidhant Sibal: How has been the collaboration on COVID front?
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: India and Myanmar have good relations, earlier this year, India donated HCQ and other medical supplies for Covid. During the visit of FS, India donated 3000 vials of Remdesivir to Myanmar. During the discussions, Foreign Secretary and Myanmar leaders discussed cooperation in the development of Vaccines. Now I think, we have informed to Indian side that Myanmar will participate in development of vaccine.
Sidhant Sibal: You are neighbours of India and China. China has been aggressive, that has been the talking point. How are u reaching out to New Delhi, even as Chinese aggressiveness is increasing?
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: Let me explain our foreign policy, our policy is based on 5 principles of peaceful coexistence. And also, neutrality and respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity. We maintained, good relations with all countries. In that case, we have an independent and active foreign policy. For Myanmar, we strongly support India and China in the effort of de-escalating of tensions.
Sidhant Sibal: How do you see India backed Indo-Pacific concept?
Ambassador Moe Kyaw Aung: I think, Indo-Pacific, as a general concept, regional cooperation is a win win for all the countries involved.