India-ASEAN Nations Keen To Re-Build Historical Ties By Unrestricted Movement Across the Border

India-ASEAN relations are rooted in shared heritage and civilizational linkages. Hinduism and Buddhism have had a very strong cultural and historical impact in the ASEAN countries. Over the period of time, India and ASEAN countries have strived to build robust economic and cultural ties and improve people-to-people contact.

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In an attempt to further bolster tie between India and ASEAN nations, Myanmar has permitted visa-on-arrival facility for the Indian nationals. Myanmar joins Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia who have very easy visa rules for Indian tourists (including visa on arrival and e-visas)

Indian tourists can enter Myanmar from three international airports which will process Visa on Arrival i.e. Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay.

The announcement comes in the midst of Indian Presidents five-day visit to Myanmar. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said: “One of the important outcomes of this visit is that the visa on arrival will be given for Indians arriving by air. This will increase tourism and people to people exchange between the two countries.”

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Highlighting the importance of the visit, Gokhale underlined that President Kovind had excellent meetings with his Myanmarese counterpart U Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. He said that the President’s visit to Myanmar is to maintain a very positive and forward-looking trajectory and build upon the strong historical ties and also the cordial ties currently shared between the two nations.

“The State Counsellor referred to India as a ‘friend’, which takes a fair and balanced position on all issues related to Myanmar. The President of Myanmar said that relations with India are already at a high point and will go higher more. We reiterated our strong support for Myanmar’s unity and territorial integrity,” the Foreign Secretary elaborated.

He expressed hope that the bus services from Imphal to Moreh and from Mandalay to Tamu would be operational soon. Gokhale further informed that the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is reaching the final stages of completion. A port operator for the Sittwe Port would be announced soon.

Stressing that India considers Myanmar as a land and sea link between New Delhi and ASEAN as part of the ‘Act East’ Policy, the Foreign Secretary said: “We have cross-border links with North East India and Myanmar. Our objective is to fulfil certain key goals including connecting India with South East Asia, building stronger defence, security and economic relations with Myanmar and ensuring our security in the Bay of Bengal.”

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