Northeast’s Myanmar connect (opinion)
- There are resemblances in food habits, dresses, languages etc between people of northeastern states in India and those in Yangon, Myanmar capital.
- People like eating biryani, which is a direct import from Mughal era. Last Moghul King Bahadur Shah came to then Burma with his cooks, expert biryani makers.
- Thant Myint-U, author, describes the country as “Where China meets India”.
- India and Myanmar are yet to take full advantage of historical and cultural affinities. There is immense commercial potential between India and Myanmar which have remained untapped.
- India’s north east and western part of Myanmar including Chin, Sagaing and Kachin states remain underdeveloped. This is said to be one of reasons for insurgencies in the two bordering regions.
- Poor infrastructure, backwardness and absence of any market access are characteristic of the northeast, which is reason enough to pursue greater economic activities with Myanmar.
- Weaving, food processing industries have potential in both northeast India and Myanmar.
- Developing supply chain points will promote manufacturing activities across the region as was seen in Japan and South Korea.
- JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation) want increased economic activities between Japan, India and Myanmar in the region. Singapore is also a major investor in Myanmar.
- Northeast India and Myanmar have economic commonalities that make them natural partners of development. Both regions are agrarian; rely on export of unprocessed primary goods & have potential for industrial growth.
- There is trade imbalance in favour of Myanmar. Northeast can gain through trade in services to Myanmar.
- Human, drugs, arms trade across border are major areas of concern. Need is to have a clearly demarcated border to promote accelerated economic activities across the region.
- There is need for proper connectivity across the two bordering regions. Opportunities beckons the Northeast India and Myanmar.
- India Myanmar Bilateral Relations