Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his maiden bilateral visit to neighbouring nation Myanmar. During the two-day tour PM Modi has lined up meetings with Myanmar President Htin Kyaw and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi along with visits to key historical and cultural centres.
He will also address the Indian community in Yangoon.
Agenda of the visit
Even though it may seem like Myanmar comes down in the list of allies for India, but actually it is pivtol to Modi Government's Act East policy as the counrty is practically the bridge between India and South East Asia.
India is actually the second largest provider of development assistance to Myanmar, after Japan. However, slow progress in existing projects has overshadowed India efforts and allowed China the space to expand its activities.
Since India's biggest project in Myanmar, the Kaladan multi-modal transport corridor has been delayed extensively, the government would seek to infuse fresh energy into the project to cut back some of the Chinese influence on Myanmar.
After Wednesday's talk, Modi Government is expected to announce some progress in its previously delayed trilateral highway project, including the 69 bridges it has committed to build. India will focus its projects in western Myanmar, which is "under connected and under developed." Its also the part that is closer to India, and the government believes India is best placed to work in this region including the trouble-torn Rakhine province.
According to reports, there will be some discussion on increasing visa-free travel for Indian and Myanmarese citizens, beyond the current relaxation for people living only in the border areas. Any agreement will help to have bus services from Imphal to Mandalay, which has huge potential but has been stuck. The service is also crucial to further india' ambitious project to creat road connectivity across India and South East Asia.
Agriculture and health will be other focus areas — India has upgraded hospitals in Yangon and Sittwe and will take on a new hospital in Monywa.
Modi will fly out to Bagan to oversee the restoration of the pagodas by the ASI, and will explore the possibility of improving tourism prospects there. Skills, capacity development etc, which are India's strengths will be enhanced in terms of English language centres, entrepreneurship development, etc.