India on Friday extended to Myanmar a grant of $1 million for building infrastructure, including schools, in the violence-hit Rakhine State and signed two key MoUs as New Delhi pitched for deeper bilateral ties making it clear that it cannot “take a back seat”.
“Myanmar is emerging as a major focal point of interest for the world because it is the latest among countries of the world that are transiting from one form of the government to another.

“As a neighbour that is significantly involved for our common concerns, we cannot take a backseat when the world engages with Myanmar,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.

Describing his meeting with the Myanmar leadership as “full of warmth and appreciation”, Khurshid, who is on his first bilateral visit since assuming office, said the two sides discussed a host of issues including security cooperation, economic ties and upgradation of infrastructure.

After his meeting with President Thein Sein and his counterpart U Wunna Maung Lwin, Khurshid said he had raised India’s security concerns and Myanmar said it was “more than willing” to help with “complete openness”.

Eyeing deeper ties with people of Myanmar, India extended a grant of USD one million for development in the Rakhine state that recently saw decades-old tension between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims explod.

The tension erupted with new ferocity in June leaving at least 180 dead and more than 1,10,000 displaced.

India and Myanmar also signed two MoUs for building a Rhitiddim Road connecting the two countries and for setting up of a new consulate in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.