Category Archives: Growth Matters

Brahmaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat (B4) Built to Study Brahmaputra’s Ecosystem

Aligned to India’s Act East Policy, the North-eastern region of India, is reckoned as an expressway to South-East Asia. Weighed with this significance and potentiality, advancement in the region through scientific technology and innovation is the need of the hour.

Scientific research of Brahmaputra’s ecosystem through India’s first floating laboratory on boat –B4, is one of the three biotechnological missions undertaken by the Ministry of Science and Technology, in the North-eastern region of India.

Brahmaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat (B4) is equipped to study and analyse the change in climate, the anthropogenic components, other topographical features such as soil, water, and the flora and fauna of the region.

“No major river for this size had been studied in this particular region. In future, such projects would be connected with other similar projects in the country,” said Dr.Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science and Technology and Environment.

With the initial investment of Rs.50 crores dedicated to the project, B4’s operation would commence in later December. The early phase of research on this boat would be covering the region from Pasighat, Dibrugarh, Neemati, Tejpur and Guwahati in Assam.

Brahmaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat (B4) is a two-storied barge, enabling scientists to govern thorough research of the factors impacting the river, and discovering valid means of mitigation as well. The second floor of the floating laboratory boat would be for educational purpose, making the local community cognizant of the current condition and characteristics of the ecosystem from a scientific perspective.

The officials and the scientists from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have planned to connect the B4 barge with other small and mobile lab boats along the tributaries of the Brahmaputra. Apart from this, links with local research institutions and national laboratories have also been arranged to facilitate the research procedure of B4 by feeding it with adequate data.

Biotechnology to Turn Assam into an Organic Hub

Guwahati Biotech Park

Galvanized by the boon of biotechnological application elevating the economic potential and scenario, the state of Assam has welcomed the Guwahati Biotech Park by laying the foundation stone of its Technology Incubation Center.

Assam is the northeastern paradise of natural resources—microbial, medicinal, plant and animal species correctly acknowledged and recognized as one of the biodiversity hotspot regions. Naturally endowed with resources and crops of rich commercial value and economic viability, the bio-resource potential of the region is vast.

Tapping onto its plethora of natural gems and organic farming skills, Assam’s Chief Minister Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal perceive biotechnology as an instrumental tool in enhancing value creation and production, and most importantly in leading Assam as an organic hub.

He believes that application oriented science is the new, rewarding and smarter way of life, triggering the state’s competency in capturing the organic market of the Southeast Asian region.

Skilled and proficient in traditional methods of farming, biotechnological intervention in the same would ensure more productivity and better wealth prospects, particularly in Assam’s agro based industry.

The technology incubation center is being established with a view to integrate and instill a scientific culture of biotechnology. This knowledge-based sector of biotech is being lauded as an emblem of progress, employment and an economic booster, leading and impacting the state’s social and economic development goals.

Pronouncing Assam as an important gateway to Southeast Asia, Mr. Sonowal encourages the youth and the people in general to embrace and develop science based skills and evolve their entrepreneurial development. In effect, generating and promoting business in biotechnology, enhancing research and development activities, as well as augmenting the prospects and scale of biotech industry, is the driving force behind the setting up of Technology Incubation Center of Guwahati Biotech Park.

Media Fosters Closer Ties Between Myanmar and India

India-Mayanmar Friendship Road

Viewing the integrative and comprehensive role that media plays in bringing the two countries closer, a two- day media interactive programme was conducted at Sangai Hall of Hotel Imphal in the capital of Manipur. The conclave was attended by high profiled dignitaries and media representatives of India and Myanmar in the quest to interact, engage and innovate ways to further the bilateral relations between India and Myanmar in a manner more amicable and cooperative.

The inaugural session was addressed by the Chief Minister of Manipur Mr. Biren Singh wherein he lauded his government’s initiative in introducing a bus service between Manipur in India to Mandalay in Myanmar in order to facilitate ease in people to people connectivity and smooth exchange of ideas and information. Further, Mr.Biren expressed “The External Affairs ministry has also been urged to take up necessary steps for visa issues by the respective embassies of the two countries.”

The notion behind the organisation of a media interaction programme between India and Myanmar was rooted in Mr. Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Myanmar wherein the idea was proposed by him. The conclave has been reckoned seminal in advancing the bilateral relations of both the neighbouring countries wherein the role of Media as an effective and a powerful tool in delivering good governance to the people has been given central importance to.

The cooperation and participation of Press Council of India and Myanmar Press Council at the event highlighted and corroborated the significance of media in democracy in building and sustaining relationships between people of both the nations, at the same time comprehending the political and economic climate of each other in an easier and more accessible manner.

The thrust of the conclave resided on exploring Media’s role in promoting ‘India’s Act East Policy’, ‘Capacity building of media personnel in Myanmar and India’ and ‘Media’s role in promoting connectivity and trade between Myanmar and India.’

Exploring the Hidden Gems of Myanmar

The Hidden Gems of Myanmar

One visit to Myanmar is enough to dazzle travellers. The eclectic fusion of the traditional and the modern, the old and the new entices visitors to partake of and enjoy the way Myanmar thrives, despite the many challenges it faces. The discerning traveller would not miss observing the energy, hope and potential lurking in the air of Myanmar.

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar has opened its doors to the world in the last couple of years and has become one of the go-to holiday destinations for people across the globe. Myanmar provides something to please everyone and ensures that nobody leaves its shores disappointed. The most popular tourist destinations include Yangon, Mandalay, Kalaw, Bagan to name a few. However, there are a number of places in Myanmar that have remained off the beaten track. This article uncovers such gems.


Loikaw, the smallest state of Myanmar, has largely remained untouched by tourists and is one of the least visited places in Myanmar, which adds to the charm and lure of the place. Loikaw is the capital of the Kayah State. It is located in the Karen Hills area, near the State’s northern tip. Loikaw, along with Demoso, in the Kayah State, have been opened to independent tourists only since 2013.

For a place so remote and unaffected by tourism, the large ethnic diversity one finds in Loikaw is fascinating to observe- Palaung, Shan, Kayah, Kayan are some of the groups found here, each adding their bit in making the state of Loikaw an eclectic melting pot. A stroll through the villages of Loikaw will open up interesting vistas for the tourists in the form of stunning pagodas, temples, stupas, lakes and caves. Tourists are likely to come across ‘long neck women’ wearing golden rings coiled around their necks. A curious traveller will certainly be intrigued by this unusual sight. While it is difficult to trace a reason for this, it is believed that these rings protect the Palaung women from being killed by tigers and the long neck makes them look beautiful.

Loikaw offers a quiet and serene environment to tourists, ideal for indulging their spiritual side and to introspect. One of the most popular sights in Loikaw is the famous pagoda called, ‘Taung Kwe’, towering above the town, on the top of a lime stone hill on the Mingalar Thiri Mountain. The spectacular view of the town especially during sunset makes the journey to Loikaw worthwhile. A cluster of other pagodas such as Myaka Lup pagoda, Shwe Let War pagoda and Nagayon pagoda stand behind Taung Kwe pagoda. Other places that offer a visual treat to tourists include:

i. Seven Stages Lake- a series of seven interconnected lakes, known for the scenic beauty and tranquillity they offer to the tourists.

ii. Christ the King Cathedral- built in 1939, it is Kayah’s oldest surviving church and is a fusion of traditional European architecture and local Buddhist styles.

iii. Kayah State Cultural Museumbuilt in 1996, it is a treasure trove for all the art and cultural aficionados, interested in discovering the life of the Kayah inhabitants. The museum holds a rich collection of books, traditional dresses, household utensils, weapons, paintings and musical instruments.

The sleepy city of Loikaw provides a pleasant introduction to the Kayah way of life and is a base for venturing out into the neighbouring villages.


The Hidden Gems of MyanmarSitting on the eastern bank of the Thanlwin river, the capital of Kayin (also known as Karen) State, Hpa-an is a place where time seems to stand still. The laidback atmosphere and breath-taking caves and mountains make Hpa-an a backpacker’s paradise. Thanks to the new highway linking Hpa-an to the Thai border at Mae Sot and Yangon, and improved border crossing facilities at Myawaddy, this remote place is witnessing a steady flow of visitors, especially from the neighbouring Thailand.

The population of Hpa-an, about 421,575 (2014 census), predominantly comprises people of the Karen ethnic group, which make up approximately seven percent of the total Burmese population. The place offers a unique opportunity to the curious traveller to know more about the local Karen culture, as majority of people have held on to their traditional ways and language.While Hpa-an is safe and peaceful for visitors, November is a good time to head there, for the visitor can experience the Karen Don festival and get a true insight into its culture.

Besides lazing around at the delightful riverside, soaking in the picturesque landscape, lush green fields, tourists have plenty to enthral them on their visit.

i. Mt. Zwegabin- Dominating the landscape of Hpa-an is Mt. Zwegabin, about 7 miles south of the town, and 2372 ft. in height. The hike to the summit is demanding, but duly compensated by the stunning 3600 views of the town on offer.

ii. Saddan Cave- Gigantic cavern filled with dozens of Buddha statues, pagodas, wall cravings and a lake, transports the traveller to a different world away from the hustle bustle.

iii. Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda- Perched atop a limestone pinnacle, this unique and surreal pagoda almost seems to defy gravity.

iv. Kaw Gun Cave- Located near Kawgun village, this is a natural limestone cave and is covered with several Buddha statues, many dating back to the seventh century.

While Hpa-an may not be the preferred place to visit on the trip to Myanmar, it certainly is worth a visit and offers spectacular vistas for the tourists.


The Hidden Gems of MyanmarBeing closed for tourism until early 2013, Dawei is largely undeveloped and unexplored. But, therein lies an opportunity for an adventurous traveller, looking for an authentic and novel experience. Dawei offers jaded travellers everything that a metropolitan city does not- peace, fresh air, pristine beaches, solitude, few people et al.

Dawei is the capital of the Tanintharyi Region and got its independence from the British rule in 1948. It has enormous potential for tourism, as it has something for everyoneuntouched coastline, jungle interior, sprinkling of islands, beautiful pagodas and white sand beaches. With imminent development threatening to disturb the idyllic and untouched environment of Dawei, a trip to Dawei makes for a great treat. Some of the places that could be explored besides lazing around in the town are:

i. Maungmagan Beach- The most popular beach with the locals, around 12 km west of Dawei, Maungmagan has seen a semblance of development; some tea shops, beer stations and restaurants.

ii. Nabule Beach- Tourists can head to Nabule Beach around 15 km north if they want to experience stunning white sands of the Nabule Beach, away from humanity.

iii. Shwe Taung Zar Pagoda- The main religious site in Dawei, the Shwe Taung Zar Pagoda is a sprawling complex of shrines and statues.

Dawei is one of those places where one could just relax and do nothing.

Rudyard Kipling described Burma (now Myanmar) as, “This is Burma. It will be quite unlike any land you know about.” It is calling out loud to travellers, time to answer the call.

Courtesy- Arun Arora is a writer, trekker and a traveler who shares his experiences on various digital portals.

Conference on Indo-Myanmar Relations Held in Yangon

Indian Ambessador to Myanmar Mr. Vikram Misri
Indian Ambassador to Myanmar -Mr. Vikram Misri

Rooted in similar cultural, civilizational and historical ethos – Myanmar and India’s ever evolving friendship, in a way, has past common threads nourishing both the countries in an amicable relationship.

To commemorate and strengthen the proximity between both the countries, Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) and Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies (MISIS), jointly organised the two-day conference on “India-Myanmar Relations: The Way Forward” at Pan Pacific Yangon Hotel in early November.

The way forward toward a more peaceful, secured and conciliatory association between India and Myanmar underscored the schedule of the conference.

Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Mr. Vikram Misri while addressing the inaugural session of the conference avowed the significance of forging stronger and closer security ties between the countries of Myanmar and India; to be able to strategically and skilfully avert threats and collectively help mitigate situation of menace and imminent danger. He also asserted, “Our security forces must work closely to deny any space to extremist groups who threaten our nations.” He vouched for India’s undeterred support in aiding Myanmar in matters of peacemaking, national reconciliation and economic development. He highlighted India’s potency in tackling with insurgency related problems, and thus, learnings from India in this regard could benefit Myanmar in achieving its peace processes.

Further, the talks at the conference affirmed the need to make India-Myanmar border region a conflict free zone by revamping the infrastructure by giving it a modernised layout, with testing labs, banking infrastructure and visa- onarrival facilities being promoted and encouraged for boosting bilateral trade. Thus, peace negotiator Mr. U Aung Min while emphasising Indo-Myanmar interest in restoring peace in border region, advocated for switching border region space of conflict to zone of development, along with the need to contain transborder insurgencies.

With the scope of developing and maturing people to people contacts between the two countries, it is imperative to address border region challenges essentially. Moreover, the need for cross border investments and easy bilateral trade procedures holds the key in forging closer relations with Myanmar.

The conference encouraged exchange programmes between the academicians and the researchers, and it also acknowledged an increase in scholarships presented to students from Myanmar by India. Myanmar foreign ministry’s permanent secretary Mr. U Kyaw Zeya expressed,“Myanmar’s relation with India is constantly improving and the bilateral trade has gone up several times from 323 million US dollars in 1998 to 2.65 billion US dollars last year.”

China-Myanmar Corridor to Expediate Connectivity

Myanmar and China are on the threshold of forging closer ties as they progress further on the mutually beneficial path of development and advanced bilateral cooperation with one another.

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s agreement to China-Myanmar economic corridor ‘s construction as proposed by the Chinese counterparts reflect the strengthening and reaffirming of relations between the two countries whose friendship has stood the test of time.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi reckons China’s proposal of China-Myanmar Economic Corridor as a vital step in fast-tracking the strategic and economic cooperation between Myanmar and China.

The corridor connecting Kumming (south-west China), Mandalay (Myanmar), Kolkata (India), and Dhaka and Chittagong (Bangladesh) is designed and planned to enhance and boost the connectivity between these four countries.

Myanmar holds a strategic geographical position with its close proximity to South-East Asia and China. Thus, Myanmar’s centrality in China’s Belt and Road Initiative is colossal. With the implementation of China-Myanmar corridor, China’s accessibility to the Indian Ocean through Myanmar would get expedited, and the route more convenient contributing to increased connectivity between both the countries. This in effect, would bolster development plans and needs of Myanmar, specifically its transport arrangements, electrical requirements and other infrastructural set-up. The corridor would also help Myanmar in becoming an important destination for China’s industries, leading to more jobs and better living standards eventually.

Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping asserted Chinese efforts in supporting and solving regional conflicts in Myanmar and its constructive role in ensuring stability and peace in the country plagued by political fumes. The three-pillar giant cooperation pattern of the corridor was well received and appreciated by the State Counsellor as ‘well-matched with Myanmar’s national development plan’.

2017 Horasis Asia Meeting to Promote Business in Mandalay

2017 Horasis Asia Meeting

An international conference organised to beckon business leaders and government representatives to boost Mandalay’s business landscape was held in Kolkata, India recently.

Mandalay – the second largest city in Myanmar – is considered the economic powerhouse and cultural hub of Myanmar.

Speaking at the 2017 Horasis Asia Meeting, Chief Minister of Mandalay Region Government Dr. Zw Myint Maung urged foreign participants to invest in this central region of Myanmar for it is the nerve centre of the country with its commercial activities, educational and health domain being its primary growth drivers. He solicited and advised delegates to chart a business course to amplify and reap from the development opportunities of Mandalay.

Themes permeating the session comprised ‘Start-ups and Entrepreneurship’, ‘Partnerships in Competition’ and ‘Knowledge as a Public Good’.

The Horasis Asia Meeting annually invites representatives and delegates from developing and developed markets to Asia’s seminal business congregation to bolster investment prospects, regional cooperation while ensuring sustainable growth opportunities. In 2017, the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Government of West Bengal jointly hosted the Horasis Asia Meeting later in November.

Myanmar’s cordiality with India and vice versa, got re-affirmed with the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Myanmar wherein he offered Government of India’s support in restoring and revamping the Ananada Temple that got severely damaged due to the forces of earthquake. Thus, Mr. Maung expressed, optimism between the two nations and greeted India’s policies – Neighbourhood First and Act East Policy – as the integrative podium of better and stronger relations between both the countries.

Asia IoT Business Platform Launches in Myanmar

Asia IoT Business Platform

Transitory waves in Myanmar’s business and economic sphere are evident through its development graph and an incessant interest evinced by the global communities. With passably paced infrastructural growth and expansion, the subsequent moves are driving toward digitisation to advance the economic paradigm of the nation.

To enhance business productivity and efficiency through the use of services such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IOT), Asia IoT Business Platform has entered Myanmar to explore the potential of these services in Myanmar and engage companies with its benefits.

This platform is an educational and a collaborative medium to seek, learn and benefit from the IoT Industry reigning in the South East Asian region. With central focus on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things(IoT) Technology, Asia IoT Business Platform aims to enable efficient, effectual and competent business solutions across multiple industries and sectors in Myanmar and other South East Asian countries.

Singapore firm: Industry Platform Private Limited, vital to telecommunication sector made the announcement of Asia IoT Business Platform’s launch in Myanmar. This was affirmed by the support extended by the ministries of Commerce, Education, Industry, and Transport and Communication.

Myanmar’s current stand is aspirational and is in a constant move to rapidly grow and progress. Thus, for Myanmar to vault into new technologies and greater economic opportunities, four priority areas have been outlined – integration with the global sphere, digitisation of infrastructural services, transition to manufacturing domain and growth in urbanization.

Director of Industry Platform Private Limited, Mr. Irza Fauzan Suprapto stated, “Myanmar is at an interesting crossroad for telecommunications and digital transformation. While basic ICT infrastructure is being developed and completed, awareness on a digital strategy is crucial for local firms to grow and maximize the potential of ICT and IoT in their operations.”

Mobile Money operations are adequately active in Myanmar with Telenor’s Wave Money and Ooredo’s M-Pitesan – major telecom operators – geared to launch their operations soon. The platform had speakers from Asia Green Development Bank, Ooredoo Myanmar, KBZ Bank, First Private Bank, Telenor Myanmar, MPTKSGM, Yoma Bank and Aya Bank, engage with mobile money sector.

The Asia IoT Business Platform with its industry programme showcased case studies highlighting the benefits of IoT and IoC through educational technology, road safety measures and more.

Investors to Reap from Myanmar’s First Socio-Economic Report

A compendious report outlining Myanmar’s historical, social and geographical data has been compiled and jointly published in detail by The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ).

Mr. U Thitsar, a private sector specialist at the World Bank commented on the beneficial nature of the report, “This report is extremely comprehensive. It contains information from demographic to topographical conditions in Myanmar. It includes data on the various regions where it is densely populated, for example.”

The report titled ‘The Socio- Economic Atlas of Myanmar’, is a complete manual giving an in-depth analysis of all regions of Myanmar – population density, area occupation, distribution of wards, villages, townships across all the regions and the spread of religion in all the states.

The Socio-Economic Atlas of Myanmar is an engaging encyclopaedia for all the investors, inviting them to take learned and wise investment decisions. Its conduct examining the investment potential of the country in great length is inclined toward helping foreigners in their investment plans in Myanmar, and to beef-up foreign direct investments in the country.

This thorough compilation of varied data pertaining to Myanmar has put to rest all the complications and inconveniences that used to accompany a foreign investor in trying to procure appropriate information on Myanmar. Now, instead of physically travelling to relevant departments or sectors to hunt for details, all the data is a readily available resource, complied into an accessible publication for all the interested investors in Myanmar.

It also serves as an exhaustive knowledge bank for all the policy makers, engaged in public projects. Composed of all the information relating to infrastructural necessities, Mr. U Thitsar remarked, “Take urban planning projects for example. Which locations should they develop? Which locations have the densest population? As the report also includes information on infrastructure requirements such as roads and bridges, it would greatly benefit policy makers.”

Israel Supports Myanmar in Agriculture

Israel Supports Myanmar in Agriculture

Israel’s Ambassador Mr. Daniel Zohar Zonshine in a very confident and undeterred pose expressed his interest in continuing to support the agricultural sector of Myanmar even amid the outbreak of an indurate political occurrence, sweeping Myanmar to the den of criticism.

He established investor’s protection and security as the pivotal premise in being able to pave way for a robust and engaging economic relationship between Israel and Myanmar. In other words, an economic environment that has the potential of attracting the interest and confidence of an investor should be the primary goal. He acknowledged that an investor’s security generates and accelerates the investment canvas of a country and thus, Myanmar’s investment interactions should be recognised in this light.

Israel Supports Myanmar in AgricultureIsrael’s involvement in reforming and realigning the agricultural sector of Myanmar’s is over 20 years old. Its support in providing advanced technological know-how and proficient expertise has helped Myanmar in redefining its agricultural scale.

In the past, Israel has successfully conducted agriculture – training programmes for Myanmar students, allowing them to study and work in private rural settlement areas. Getting paid for their research projects which range from greenhouse activities to husbandry farming, has been encouraged too.

Being an agriculturally driven economy,the Israeli efforts in welcoming the Burmese students to their pool of technology, and exposing them to their level of efficiency and farming practise, Myanmar’s future in agriculture seems positive and supported. The training camp running for 11 months ensures an evolved youth who is well versed in all stages of agriculture; from planning, preparation, cultivation to harvest and post-harvest etcetera.

While remarking on the collaborative relation with Myanmar in the agricultural sector, Mr. Zohar Zonshine also noted, “Agriculture is a chain: by strengthening one link, you may not necessarily get better results unless the whole chain is improved. It has to do with agriculture research, access to technology and finance, and farmers being able to access information, data, and infrastructure. Other areas to have added value are developing the processing industry – it gives more jobs for people who cannot continue with agriculture, and leaves more added value in the country.”

It is in the best interest of both the countries to aid in training and capacity building aspects of human resource engaged in agricultural work. The ambassador also mentioned about an Israeli company’s presence in Myanmar – Netafim, helping Myanmar with its drip and micro-irrigation products. Thus, an active exchange of expertise, skills and technical know-how has helped Myanmar’ agriculture sector improve and develop.