Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra raised the issue of security in border areas and human trafficking by international crime syndicates with his interlocutors in Myanmar during a two-day visit to the neighbouring country.
Kwatra also expressed India’s continued support for people-centric developmental projects, including in border areas, and for connectivity initiatives such as the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project. Kwatra was the first senior Indian official to visit rapidly isolating Myanmar this year and concluded his two-day visit on Monday.
Concerns have grown in New Delhi since August following an increase in fighting between Myanmar’s military and insurgent groups such as the Arakan Army in Rakhine and Chin states. People familiar with the matter said growing instability in these regions could encourage anti-India insurgent groups based in Myanmar to step up their activities in the country’s northeastern region.
Another issue of concern is the luring of hundreds of Indians by Chinese criminal gangs to Myanmar’s Myawaddy region in what is known as the “pig butcher” scam, in which online fraudsters persuade people to deposit money into fake platforms. The name is derived from the simile of a farmer who fattens a pig before slaughtering it.
Most of the Indians were low-level IT workers who were lured by offers of lucrative jobs, and India’s missions in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos have rescued dozens of them in recent weeks.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said that during his meetings with the senior leadership of Myanmar, Kwatra “discussed the maintenance of security and stability in the border areas of India and Myanmar”.
Kwatra also “raised the issue of human trafficking by international crime syndicates in the Myawaddy area of Myanmar in which many Indian nationals have been caught”, it said.
Besides reviewing bilateral development cooperation projects, Kwatra expressed India’s continued support for socio-economic developmental projects, including the commitment to early implementation of connectivity initiatives such as the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway along the border areas also includes. Myanmar and Thailand are included.
The ministry said Kwatra reiterated India’s commitment to continue projects under the Rakhine State Development Program and the Border Area Development Programme.
Former foreign secretary Harsh Shringla, the last senior Indian official to visit Myanmar in December 2021, called for a complete end to all violence and an early return to democracy in the wake of last year’s military coup. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted that Kwatra had discussed “India’s support for democratic transition in Myanmar”.
In a sign of growing frustration with Myanmar’s military junta within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the group’s leaders warned at a recent summit that the country would be barred from all meetings of the bloc unless it joined a Does not come with spec. Timeline for implementing the “five-point consensus” plan to restore democracy.
Myanmar has seen political and economic chaos since the government overthrew an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and began cracking down on dissent.