Myanmar Joins South Asian Bloc Focussed on Transport, Energy

Myanmar has joined a regional partnership aimed at improving trade links between Southeast Asia and South Asia.

The move makes Myanmar the seventh member of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) group, which is supported by the Asian Development Bank.

The group’s key aims are to promote cross border trade in energy, to improve transport links between member countries and to speed up trade.

It is hoped Myanmar will be a key corridor for trade with South Asian countries, especially India’s landlocked northeastern region, which borders Myanmar’s northern states including Chin.

The $480 million Kaladan Multimodal Project aims to connect a deep sea port at Sittwe in Rakhine state to India’s Mizo-ram state, bordering Chin, via highways and inland water routes.

SASEC’s other members include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal. The group formed in 2001 and has since invested $9 billion in development projects.

Myanmar’s new membership was announced shortly before a meeting of SASEC finance ministers in New Delhi last week.

“Myanmar’s membership in SASEC can offer a host of opportunities for realizing synergies from economic cooperation in the sub-region,” said Shaktikanta Das, secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs at India’s Ministry of Finance. Ronald Butiong, Director for Regional Cooperation for the Asian Development Bank’s South Asia Department, said: “Myanmar’s participation in SASEC is expected to further promote and accelerate intersub-regional cooperation between South Asia and Southeast Asia and beyond, and will contribute significantly to achieving the future development goals of both sub-regions.”

 

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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