Chief Minister Shri Lal Thanhawla who is on an official tour to Delhi met External Affairs Minister Shrimati Sushma Swaraj last week in her office where he apprised her of his tour to Myanmar in April this year and shared his thoughts on the need to strengthen bilateral relations with Myanmar through border trade, developmental investments, connectivity, political engagement and people to people exchange to optimize the gains to the North Eastern states in the context of the Act East Policy.
Sharing his thoughts, the Chief Minister pointed that the ethnic affinity of Mizoram and the areas of Myanmar bordering Mizoram and the good relations that exists among the communities could be leveraged for strengthening bilateral engagements. In the wake of strategic investments by China in Myanmar and its growing influence, he stressed upon the need to strengthen India's engagements in Mynamar including developmental investments. He added that during his visit he sensed a strong appetite amongst the people of Myanmar for stronger ties with India and this positive sentiment must be put to good use, he said.
Highlighting the existing and upcoming border trade infrastructure in the border areas, he said we must quicken its pace along the Myanmar border. But the condition of road in Myanmar adjoining Zokhawthar in Mizoram is extremely poor, which negates the effect of good infrastructure developed on our side; hence it is in our own interest to rebuild this road at our cost to facilitate movement of goods and people, he added. He informed her of the desire of the Government of Mizoram to develop 2/3 roads in the adjoining areas of Myanmar to mitigate the problems faced by the people as a goodwill measure. He requested the Central Government to grant approval to undertake these works, for which specific proposals would be sent separately, he further added.
He requested the External Affairs Minister to take necessary initiatives to ease restrictions through a bilateral process for facilitating movement of people between the two countries and explore the possibility of making the bus service between the two countries through Moreh, a regular one.
He also enlisted her help to take protective measures to preserve and protect the centuries old banyan tree known to Mizos as Khampat Bungpui, a symbol of Mizo unity planted in the 17th century that was partially damaged during last year's cyclone, in consultation with Myanmar.
He stated that it would be in the mutual interests of both countries to regularly organise visits of Mizo leaders. To further this, he said that he allowed to visit Myanmar from time to time and also invite Mizo Chief Ministers from Myanmar. He also invited the External Affairs Minister to visit Mizoram at her earliest convenience.