NEW DELHI: Myanmar has signed agreements with India for assistance in development of Rakhine state while asking China to scale down its presence in a mega dam project in the state which has seen armed clashes between government forces and Rohingya insurgents since October 2016.
Experts said the twin moves were aimed at balancing ties with the country’s two big neighbours. The pacts will benefit local farmers as well as the university in Rakhine. The state’s ministry of agriculture, livestock, forestry and minerals signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India earlier this month. India will supply 15 tractors and 15 crawler harvesters to the state government, thereby meeting a key need expressed by the peasants union in the state.
The state government’s department of social affairs signed a separate MoU that will enable the Embassy of India to provide 40 computers and associated peripherals to the Sittwe Computer University. The objective of providing the assistance is to promote agricultural mechanisation in Rakhine and also to promote computer literacy among youth in the state. This will help prepare the youth for employment in the software sector, officials said.
India and Myanmar separately entered into an agreement on the Rakhine State Development Programme, under which India will provide $25 million in grant assistance over a period of five years. This assistance is dedicated to projects in the state, with the first being a pilot to build 250 prefabricated houses in northern Rakhine for displaced members of the state’s Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim communities.
The two countries are cooperating to develop more projects that can be executed under the aegis of Rakhine State Development Programme, officials said.