Efforts to open up travel and trade between India and Myanmar have moved up a notch as a joint team of Myanmar and Indian officials met in Imphal, India to commence a survey for the proposed Imphal-Mandalay passenger bus service, according to The Sangai Express, January 11.
E-Pao news service, quoting The Sangai Express, reports that 10 officials from Myanmar have arrived in Imphal to survey the 579 kilometre road from Imphal to Mandalay along with Indian officials.
The survey will get underway on January 12.
The Myanmar team is led by U Tang Toe Aung, a lead engineer from the Public Works Department in Myanmar’s Ministry of Construction.
The Indian government has sent a draft report regarding the bus service to the Myanmar government, and Delhi is reported to be awaiting a response from Nya Pyi Taw.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Myanmar is said to have boosted bilateral ties between the two countries, with the bus service being one way to further open up communications between the two countries.
The Imphal-Mandalay bus service proposal has been at least five years in the making, with the first proposal drafted in 2009.
The service is part of a package of initiatives under India’s “Look East Policy” that seeks to open up trade and communication with India’s eastern neighbours, a policy that critics claim has been slow to get off the drawing board.
Arrangements are being made for Indian and Myanmar passengers using the bus service to be granted single entry visas at the respective Tamu and Moreh checkpoints. Bus tickets will be issued only to Myanmar and Indian nationals with valid travel documents.