Manipur and Sagaing hold cooperation meeting


Photo: Thant Zin Tun/Mizzima

Delegates from Manipur State of India, Sagaing Region, Mandalay Region, India-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and  the Sagaing Promoters Group met in Mandalay on the 29 January to discuss cross-border and regional cooperation.

The Indian government and the Indian business community has been making efforts to strengthen their relationship with Myanmar and other ASEAN countries, including a welcome to ASEAN delegations on their 69th Republic Day in New Delhi – all part of steps to envirorate India’s Act East Policy.

Following discussions at the meeting today in Mandalay, the participants agreed the following points:

Tourism

1. To facilitate tourists of both countries, visa on arrival facilities needs to be opened immediately at Moreh, India and Tamu, Myanmar.

2. People in Sagaing Region and adjacent States who are predominantly Buddhist keep travelling to the Bodh Gaya via Yangon which expensive. Imphal (capital of Manipur State) which is only 110 KMs from the border, has an international airport that can extend service to hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims to Bodh Gaya.

3. We have to have a tourist information centesr in Mandalay and Tamu and Imphal to help the tourists of both countries.

4. One direct flight from Imphal to Mandalay that may further connect Bangkok/Chaingmai and Kunming.

5. When it comes to the health sector, the people in the border areas of Myanmar should be able to visit health centers in Manipur without a passport and visa by special arrangement. It mus be noted that most villagers are not in possession of passports whereas health care is a human problem. This needs to be immediately addressed.

Border Trade between India and Myanmar

1. Third country products which are presently either coming from Myanmar through Namphalong (Tamu town) or Moreh (India) illegally should be legalized/allowed. Several goods which are basically China-made are allowed to export to major Indian ciites such as Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai should be allowed to trade on land route through Moreh (India) or Tamu (Myanmar).

2. Movement of vehicles like cars and trucks from both Mandalay and Sagaing to Imphal and Guwahati via Tamu/Moreh and vice-versa should be permitted. This will reduce costs of transportation, travel time and also other inconveniences etc.

3. Opening of facilities like Visa on Arrival at the border town of Moreh (India) and Tamu (Myanmar) with English speaking officials/staff at immigration offices.

4. Yunan Province of China, Mandalay and Sagaing and North East Region of India should be taken as an Integrated Economic Zone.

5. Relaxation of restriction imposed by Government of India on exports of 3 types of Beans/pulses from Myanmar to India required immediately.

6.  Current taxation of 40% on (import from Myanmar to India) betel nuts by India across the border should be exempted or  a reduced tax percentage.

7. Myanmar was exporting India beans and pulses for years. And we request the Myanmar government to request India to allow it based on normal duty structure as it does with certain other countries (ex. US, Canada and Australia).

8. Formal representation from Central governments of both countries should be included in future business meetings (twice a year).

9. Both countries can have concessional rates for air cargo for particular items particularly medicines.

10. We (the businesses from both countries) are interested in looking into possible investment in Industrial Zones (small and medium size) either in Mandalay or Sagaing.

11. To target SMEs (small and medium size businesses). Information on promotion of SMEs (Myanmar side) should be shared to India (and Manipur State) so that Manipur State and other States in India can participate in such activities. The websites of MRCCI and SRCCI will have updated information. Possibility of signing the MoU between MRCCI, SRCCI and IMCC will be followed-up.

12. We recommend the Myanmar government make clear policies on trade, business and taxation.

Health Sector

1. Medical tourism is very good for business but it needs connectivity and it needs at least one direct flight everyday from any city from Myanmar to Imphal.

2. We need to get Visa on Arrival (at Tamu and at Moreh) for both sides so that Myanmar people can travel to Imphal and Vice Versa.

3. Setting up a hospital in Tamu with the assistance of India or through PPP can be an option.

4. Free corrective surgeries for Cleft Lip and Palate can be done free of cost at SHIJA hospital in Imphal under SMILE Train New York (travel expenses to some extent can be supported).

5. SHIJA hospital in Manipur is ready to extend highly subsidized (less than 50 percentage charge) cataract surgery to one lakh blind population of Sagaing (due to cataract).

6. Manipur State is noted for nursing and paramedical courses (training the nurses) and Lab Technicians. Training facilities for medical care can be provided by Manipur if Myanmar requires.

Media

1. Common platform for the journalists, editors, and other media persons of India and Myanmar needs to be established (based on 11 points agreement of both countries).

2. To include media related commodities such as newsprint, papers, printing machines, inks, electronic equipment and others in border trade between India and Myanmar.

3. Regular interaction between journalists of the two countries as a regular programme should be established.

4. Exchange program for Mass Communication and Journalism Trainers, professionals should be done.

Others

1. Technical and skill development courses can be provided by Manipur Government if Myanmar requires.

2. Regular exchange programs among Universities of Mandalay, Monywa and Manipur can be considered.

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