Army Chief, Foreign Secretary to make first joint visit to Myanmar

Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla and Army chief General MM Naravane.

New Delhi (NVI): Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane and Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla are set to visit Myanmar on October 4 and 5, the first time an Indian delegation to the neighbouring country has included both officials, for discussions to take forward ties in areas ranging from security to connectivity.

This will be the foreign secretary’s second foreign visit, after a trip to Bangladesh in August, since the Covid-19 outbreak and the army chief’s first such visit amid the restrictions related to the pandemic.

During their visit, the delegation will call on the State Counsellor of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, according to a statement by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

India – Myanmar relations are historic, multifaceted and marked by mutual trust and respect. India attaches high priority to its relationship with Myanmar in accordance with its ‘Neighborhood First’ and ‘Act East’ policies, the statement said.

In the recent times, both sides have strengthened their cooperation in several areas, including connectivity and trade, development projects, energy, capacity building, defence and security and culture and people to people links, it added.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, few direct exchanges have taken place between the two sides. This visit will provide an opportunity to take stock of the existing bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

The visit also comes four days after the India-Myanmar foreign office consultations, which were conducted virtually by Shringla and permanent secretary U Soe Han on Thursday.