Myanmar: In a good news for the Indian tourists visiting Myanmar, India's Ambassador to Myanmar Vikram Misri has announced that the visa-on-arrival facility for the Indian nationals will begin effectively from Thursday.
Speaking to reporters here, Misri said: "The process has already started. So effectively from tomorrow (Thursday), when any Indian tourists arrive at any of the three international airports here (Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay), they would be able to secure a visa on arrival."
The announcement comes in the midst of President Ram Nath Kovind's current five-day visit to Myanmar.
Echoing similar sentiments, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said: "One of the important outcomes of this visit is that the visa on arrival will be given for Indians arriving by air. This will increase tourism and people to people exchange between the two countries."
Highlighting the importance of the visit, Gokhale underlined that President Kovind had excellent meetings with his Myanmarese counterpart U Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
He said that the President's visit to Myanmar is to maintain a very positive and forward-looking trajectory and build upon the strong historical ties and also the cordial ties currently shared between the two nations.
"The State Counsellor referred to India as a 'friend', which takes a fair and balanced position on all issues related to Myanmar. The President of Myanmar said that relations with India are already at a high point and will go higher more. We reiterated our strong support for Myanmar's unity and territorial integrity," the Foreign Secretary elaborated.
He expressed hope that the bus services from Imphal to Moreh and from Mandalay to Tamu would be operational soon.
Gokhale further informed that the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is reaching the final stages of completion. A port operator for the Sittwe Port would be announced soon.
Stressing that India considers Myanmar as a land and sea link between New Delhi and ASEAN as part of the 'Act East' Policy, the Foreign Secretary said: "We have cross-border links with North East India and Myanmar. Our objective is to fulfill certain key goals including connecting India with South East Asia, building stronger defence, security and economic relations with Myanmar and ensuring our security in the Bay of Bengal."
Talking about the President's visit to Myanmar, Gokhale said that President Kovind visited Rice Bio-Park and Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education Nay Pyi Taw, which are two flagship development projects, supported by India.
"In both the places, the President saw first hand how India is helping in capacity building and research in areas where Myanmar requires assistance," he said.
The President also met nine surviving veterans of the Indian National Army in Yangon on Wednesday. During the meeting, President Kovind exchanged warm sentiments to them and said that the country is honoured that these people were a part of the freedom struggle, the Foreign Secretary noted.
"The President recalled Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's contribution and other great leaders of our freedom struggle. He honoured them with a scarf and spent some time. They appreciated it. It has been a successful visit so far," Gokhale said.
Talking about President Kovind's commitment of development of North Eastern states, Ashok Malik, Press Secretary to the President, said: "He reiterated his commitment several times during this visit. He mentioned in public engagements about the complementaries between North East India and the northern and western regions of Myanmar and how connectivity will help both the regions."
On Thursday, President Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind will visit the Shri Kali Temple and the Mazaar of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.
The President will then inaugurate 'Enterprise India' exhibition, which is being set up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) of about 45-50 Indian companies ranging from very large Indian companies to small enterprises to showcase Indian manufacturing capabilities and industrial technology. After this, the President and the First Lady will visit the Dhamma Joti-Vipassana Meditation Centre.
On Friday morning, President Kovind and First Lady will depart for New Delhi after completing their engagements in Myanmar.