India has kept its focus on ‘Development Assistance’, supported through grants-in-aid, lines of credit, training programmes, and provisions for expert knowledge and capacity building initiatives thereby overpowering the Chinese economic clout which are more commercial in nature through loans at high rates of interest. Tackling cross-border ethnic insurgency in their shared border regions Indian side is visible in supporting Myanmar to promote democratic values and re-build its institutions along with socio-economic reforms.
This is particularly noticeable in the field of
Health and Education
- up gradation of the Yangon Children’s Hospital and Sittwe General Hospital,
- India has successfully established centers for industrial training and enhancement of IT skills and other capacity building programmes.
- Education is a crucial area where India exercises competitive advantage in Myanmar for building a sustainable academic partnership between the two countries. Building up an effective workforce in Myanmar requires higher Centres of Excellence and Learning.
Infrastructural development and energy cooperation
- Myanmar’s oil and gas has attracted the largest foreign investment.
- ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), GAIL and ESSAR holding stakes in Gas field off the coast of Rakhine State.
- There are Plans to build cross-border pipelines,
- Ministry of Electric Power-1 (MoEP-1) and NHPC signed an agreement for development of the Hydro-Electric Power project in Chindwin River valley.
Trade and Commerce
- The two countries have also signed several bilateral investment promotion agreements facilitating their venture in each other’s country.
- As of 2019, India’s investment in Myanmar reached $763 million, ranking 11thin the line-up of foreign investors with 30 permitted enterprises.
Transport and Communication
- High speed data link in 32 Myanmar cities has been completed by TCIL.
- Connectivity interest to link its landlocked northeastern region with the Bay of Bengal through Rakhine State through development of port at Sittwe.
- up gradation and resurfacing of the 160 km. long Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo road; construction and up gradation of the Rhi-Tiddim Road in Myanmar;
- Parliamentary training and support for ethnic reconciliation initiatives.
- ‘High Impact Community Development Projects’ & ‘Border Areas Development Projects’ have been crucial in reaching out to States in the border regions of Myanmar and boosting people to people contacts.
- Rehabilitation of refugees – ‘India-Myanmar Friendship Project’ India has handed over 250 pre-fabricated houses in the Rakhine State for the rehabilitation of refugees after their return.
- its engagement with India in recent times in the economic field and trade statistics have not been satisfactory which has just reached 1.6 billion in the year 2017-18.
- India’s economic involvement in Myanmar, largely through the public sector, has not been up to the mark with complaints about implementation delays and quality controls.
- Gap in project implementation, however, must be bridged by the Indian private sector which might make inroads.
- The building of rail-road connectivity through Myanmar to other Southeast Asian countries and reviving old rail-road links from Assam to Vietnam calls for much attention.
- Investment in agriculture, industry, banking sector, education, health, transport and communication is urgently required by India.