India, Myanmar share age-old cultural and civilizational ties: PM

   May 29, 9:23 pm

Yangon, May 29 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said

dia and Myanmar share age-old cultural and civilizational ties, and added that merchants, monks and maritime traders carried influences and traditions from one to the other.

"The large Indian origin community in Myanmar is an enduring bridge of friendship and cultural exchange between our peoples," said Dr. Singh in his address to think-tank's and business community at an event organized by Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute in Yangon on India and Myanmar: A Partnership for Progress and Regional Development.

Dr. Singh said the common Buddhist heritage is an even stronger spiritual bond among the people of India and Myanmar.

"This year marks the 2600th anniversary of the holy Shwedagon Pagoda. I will offer prayers there later this evening. We will make an offering of a 16 feet replica of the Sarnath Buddha on behalf of the people of India. We are also working with local authorities to help organize an international conference on Buddhist heritage in Myanmar later this year," he said.

The Prime Minister said the Indian leaders shared ideas and thoughts on the freedom struggle during the independence movements.

" Mahatma Gandhi visited Myanmar a number of times and wrote in his autobiography how impressed he was by the freedom and energy of Myanmar women. Great leaders of India like Lokmanya Tilak and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose were held for long periods in jails in Myanmar. The Indian National Army received a lot of support from the people of Myanmar," said Dr. Singh.

"Our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, respected and admired General Aung San and pledged India's full support to Myanmar's freedom. In the early years following independence, India and Myanmar were deeply sympathetic and supportive of each other," he added.

Dr. Singh also called for rediscovering the immense possibilities of cooperation that exist between India and Myanmar.

"Today, we again have an opportunity to work as equal partners to revive the ancient links between our two countries and rediscover the immense possibilities of cooperation that exist between our two countries," said Dr. Singh.

"We need to work with each other and with other countries of our region to build prosperity, promote openness of thought and facilitate trade and movement of goods, people and ideas," he added.

Dr. Singh further said that he had very fruitful discussions with Myanmar President U Thein Sein during his present visit.

"I have come after spending two days in the impressive and beautiful capital city of Naypyitaw. I am very happy with the discussions I have had with the leaders of Myanmar. President Thein Sein 's visit to India last year heralded a new era of cooperation between our two countries," said Dr. Singh.

"I found him to be a man of courage, vision and sincerity. The leadership of Myanmar has a great desire to expand and strengthen the traditionally friendly relations between our two countries. This is a sentiment we fully reciprocate from the Indian side," he added.

The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute for inviting him to speak in front of a distinguished gathering. (ANI)

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