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Why is Myanmar seeking more time to sign 3-nation vehicle pact?

  • Published at 01:13 pm January 10th, 2018
Why is Myanmar seeking more time to sign 3-nation vehicle pact?
Myanmar has sought more time to review the implementation of regional connectivity arrangements before moving forward with the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Project. Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh confirmed the matter to media, reports Anandabazar Patrika. He said the Myanmar authorities want to re-evaluate the project before moving forward with the implementation phase. According to the sources from the Indian Foreign Ministry, Myanmar was eager to sign the agreement just a few months back, and the recent reluctance of Naypyidaw could be the influence of Beijing. The sources added that India will make a final attempt to sway Myanmar’s stance on the issue at the end this month. A summit to mark the 25-year anniversary of India and the ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) is scheduled to be held on January 26. To mark the 25th anniversary of this partnership, all the head of 10 heads Asean states, including Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, will participate as chief guests in the Republic Day celebrations in India. According to sources, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give special importance to the motor vehicle agreement issue during his bilateral meeting with Suu Kyi. Modi visited Myanmar in 2014, only seven months after he was elected as the prime minister of India. The proposed India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway Project came to existent during that visit. Initially it was planned under the project that a 1,360km highway, stretching from Manipur of India, going through Mandalay of Myanmar, and ending at Mae Sot in Thailand will be built jointly by the three countries. India was sure about the deal and so the country began preliminary preparations to build 69 bridges throughout the Tamu-Kaigan-Kalewa sector. The government representatives of the three nations already held several meetings discussing details of the project. The south bloc country had been giving priority to the Motor Vehicle Project, over the One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR) of China. Under the circumstances, a number of Indian diplomatic sources stated they are quite certain that Beijing is acting behind the scenes to disrupt the highway project using Myanmar as a proxy.