Category Archives: Myanmar Connect

Maritime Sector of Bangladesh to Elevate Economic Growth

Mr. Abdul Hamid
Bangladesh President- Mr. Abdul Ham

Honoured as the Chief Guest at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise Forum (IMMSAREX)-2017, Bangladesh President Mr. Abdul Hamid, upheld the need to build robust bridges along the Indian Ocean shoreline for security and safety measures.

Addressing the inauguration at Cox Bazar’s hotel Royal Tulip, he highlighted Bangladesh’s undeterred commitment in maintaining peaceful bilateral relations with the neighbouring countries. Bangladesh’s capabilities in overcoming maritime disputes in an affable manner were brought to light too.

Realising the sheer importance of maritime sector for the economy of Bangladesh, Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) was formed in 2008 with 23 countries of the Indian Ocean, to facilitate maritime trade and commercial activities, and also to promote better and viable livelihood opportunities, ensuring job sustainability and economic growth. Thus, maritime sector’s security from criminal propensities and untoward element was emphasized at the forum.

While stressing on the significance of generating sustainable value and economic benefits from ocean resources, he alluded to the concept of Blue Economy and expressed “We all are aware of the fact that Indian Ocean in contemporary times has the greatest strategic and economic value. It carries huge prospects and potentials to facilitate maritime trade and commerce.”

For the first time, multiple military drills of the forum were showcased in the Bay of Bengal. These exercises ranged from rescue and firefighting operations to discovery of missing fishing trawlers and bringing the accidental ships back to the harbour. Efforts to protect the lives of the people at sea was specifically communicated with the responsibility being shared regionally. Twentythree countries comprising France, Indonesia, Oman, Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh,Iran, Kenya, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Sicilia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timur Leseth, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom participated at the forum. Apart from this, nine countries were felicitated as observer countries – China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.

The forum was attended by IONS Chairman Admiral Mr. Nizamuddin Ahmed,Bangladesh Army Chief General Mr. Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, Bangladesh Air Force Chief Marshal Mr. Abu Esrar, Malaysian Naval Chief Admiral Mr. Kamarulzaman, Myanmar Naval Chief Admiral Mr.Tin Aung San ,and naval and maritime experts. It also had participation of the naval fleets from India, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Iran

While congratulating Bangladesh as a peace-loving country, Mr.Hamid remarked,“Being one of the highest troops contributing nations in the UN peacekeeping operations for the last two decades is a true manifestation of our commitment towards world peace.”

Nagaland Hosts North East Connectivity Summit 2017

Northeast Connectivity Summit 2017

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the government of Nagaland organized a two-day North-East Connectivity summit, “Connect North East- 2017”, at the NBCC Convention Centre in later September. With focal emphasis on tourism and connectivity with neighboring countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh, the theme chosen for “Connect NorthEast-2017” was ‘Act East from Nagaland’.

The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Mr. TR Zeliang, addressed the summit with issues like connectivity and tourism engagements, investment and infrastructural prospects. FICCI North East Advisory Council chairman Mr. Ranjit Barthakur avowed the importance of exploring connectivity based infrastructure and investment canvas with Myanmar, Japan, Laos, Russia, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Thailand also, apart from the immediate seven North-Eastern Indian states.

The 4th edition of the North-East Connectivity Summit was attended by people across the spectrum from policy makers, corporates, researchers from think-tanks and central government ministries. Stakeholders belonging to civil aviation, ASEAN region, inland waterways, telecommunication, and financial institution also took part in the event.

With the objective of enhancing Northeast India’s connectivity scope with other countries, the discussions steered through development opportunities, trade and business engagements, and communication and cultural exchange prospects.

Important highlights from the summit involved identifying people to people connectivity opportunities and tourism, establishment of an Economic Corridor with Southeast Asia and other infrastructural requirements.

Myanmar’s Minister of Cultural Affairs Mr. Sai Kyaw Zaw expressed his support and keen interest in harnessing Northeast India’s development potential, and invited stakeholders and people from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram – as Myanmar shares long borders with all these four states – to develop closer and integrative ties with Myanmar.

With diplomatic participation at the forum, Mr. Kenko Sone, Minister, Economic Affairs, Embassy of Japan expressed, “The northeastern region is located at a strategically and economically important juncture between India and Southeast Asia as well as within the Bimstec community. Therefore, Japan has placed a particular importance on the cooperation in the northeastern region.”

Due to the enormous untapped potential residing in and about the northeastern region, it is essential to establish a shift from the negative lens through which Northeast is commonly perceived – neglect, lack of adequate infrastructure, lesser capabilities – to positive aspects of hospitality, grace in its inborn culture and its production pattern of growth as remarked by former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Mr. Gautam Mukhopadhaya.

The summit charted paths and resolutions indicating the need to develop and strengthen the “Northeast Brand”. This triggered consultations on developing the North-East Ring Road, North East Implementation Agency and High Powered Economic Forum to ensure efficient planning and execution of projects which would aid the region in attracting investments for rapid upgradation.

The 2018 North East Connectivity Summit would be held in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

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.’

India and Bangladesh to Construct a Bridge Over Khawthlangtuipui River

Bridge Khawthlangtuipui River

To ensure enhancement in trade and ease in the connectivity of the two neighboring countries; India and Bangladesh, the decision to construct a bridge over Mizoram’s Khawthlangtuipui River has been given a green signal.

Karnaphuli River
Karnaphuli River

With Bangladesh, India shares the largest international land boundary; 4096 km, most with any of its neighbors.

Ms Sheikh Hasina
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina

Rowshan Ara Khanam, an official from Bangladesh shared, “The proposed bridge would be an important linkage between India and Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government has taken a number of steps to make it a reality. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina has given the approval to construct the bridge and link roads.”

It has been suggested to construct the bridge nearest to the land customs station in Bangladesh. The effort aspires to strengthen ties between the working of both the countries; hassle-free road connectivity and smooth communications.

The meeting to roll out this decision was arranged at the Tlabung town, Mamit district in Mizoram which lies in close proximity to the Khagrachari district of Bangladesh.

World’s First Floating LNG Terminal to be Constructed in Bangladesh

Floating Terminal

The Moheshkhali Floating LNG project will be Bangladesh’s first LNG import terminal, located off Moheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal. The project’s purpose is to meet clean energy demands of the country by generating natural gas in enhanced capacities; by up to 20%.

US$ 179.5m has been secured by IFC (International Finance Corporation) and Excelerate (Excelerate Energy Bangladesh) to fund the project.

Excelerate’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Nick Bedford, believes, “Excelerate takes great pride in helping bring sustainable energy solutions to countries with high energy demand, and we expect this project to have a great impact on the wider Bangladeshi economy.”

On implementation, the project anticipates an increase in the natural gas supplies of the state-owned energy company – Petrobangla, by up to 3,000MW.

The construction of the terminal has been slated to begin in the later months of 2017 and shall be put to practice in the succeeding year of 2018. Excelerate shall be responsible for the project in its entirety; development, designing, construction, installation, finance, and operations. The Moheshkhali Floating LNG terminal is being regarded as the first fully integrated turnkey floating LNG terminal of the world.

Excelerate Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rob Bryngelson remarked, “Excelerate is the only FSRU provider capable of delivering a comprehensive end-to-end floating LNG import solution and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Petrobangla in Bangladesh.

Post 15 years of providing its services, the project’s ownership shall be transferred from Excelerate to Petrobangla.

The structure of the terminal shall encompass Excelerate’s Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRU), port service vessels and subsea buoy system.

The development of the LNG terminal seeks to strengthen and support the power industry by tapping into diverse sources of natural gas reserves present in the global market. This may enable utilization of domestic natural gas reserves in a manner more efficient and sustainable and also aid in elevating economic growth levels through the creation of job opportunities and infrastructure in the region while shielding the Bangladeshi economy from the drastic impacts of climate change.

China to Bolster Bangladesh’s Development Projects

Bangladesh Map

To accelerate business and bilateral relations between China and Bangladesh, an Investment Forum highlighting the business climate of Bangladesh underscoring potential investment sectors, policy regulations, trade opportunities and expansion possibilities, will take place in the last quarter of August.

Sponsored by Bangladesh’s leading bank- The City Bank Limited and the Standard Chartered Bank, and organized by one of the most premier financial publications across the globe – Euromoney, the China-Bangladesh Investment Forum will be an attractive and a promising business crusade, bringing together institutional investors, portfolio managers, multilateral financiers , government officials, and global asset managers to explore potential business opportunities in Bangladesh and bolster the ChinaBangladesh trade relations as an outcome of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh Mr. Abrar A. Anwar shares his view with regards to Bangladesh’s massive economic capacity, “There are a lot of investment opportunities coming out in Bangladesh, Asia and also around the globe. China is a major economy, so we believe that private sectors in China would be looking at opportunities outside China.”

Bangladesh plans to promote itself as an avid investment destination and welcome China’s investment interests while acknowledging China’s continued business cooperation with them.

An informative podium engaged with discussions pertaining to capital and financial markets, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), infrastructure and the like are anticipated. It has been highlighted that participation by Chinese private business companies will considerably push Bangladesh’s development strategy. However, to increase and ensure continued Chinese investments in Bangladesh, incentive generation and elimination of procedural bottlenecks have been insisted upon.

This forum is monumental in attracting investments from China, which is being credited as the world’s largest source of FDI. This economic conference also aspires to deepen economic cooperation between the two countries, fueling long-term business impact and bilateral relationship.

Bamboo Technology Park : Inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Assam in Guwahati

Mr Sarbananda Sonowal
Assam Chief Minister Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal

The North-East of India is considered a paradise abound with unique and exquisite natural resources. Recently, Bamboo Technology Park was instituted at Chaygaon in Assam with an investment of Rs. 62.28 crore.

Bamboo is an abundant and a highly valued natural resource found in the North-East of India, particularly in Assam. Its anti-erosional and renewable property makes it a multipurpose resource. Due to its varied usage, it is copiously cultivated in the homesteads, village gardens, and agricultural lands and even in the field boundaries.

While inaugurating the Bamboo Technological Park in the vicinity of Guwahati, Chief Minister of Assam, Mr. Sonowal stated, “There are hundreds of MSME’s that produces incense sticks and bamboo handicraft products. Two very large paper plants are in Assam that uses bamboo as the raw material.”

The park has been equipped with the modern Common Facility Centre for producing creative and innovative bamboo products. The facilities include vacuum pressure treatment plant, bamboo stick and resin making facility, to name a few.

The cumulative efforts of private entrepreneurs, the Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion helped in establishing the Bamboo Technology Park, with the view to ensure optimum utilization of bamboo at the commercial level.

North-East India Builds Energy Cooperation Mechanism with Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal

Free LPG Connections
Free LPG connections being distributed to the beneficiaries

On a majestic mission to build a smooth and seamless energy cooperation mechanism, massive pipelines connecting Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, shall be strategically laid out by India to put off the challenges caused by the treacherous terrains of the North-East of India.

The scope of the project is integrative and ambitious in nature as the aforementioned neighboring countries have united to commence the initial operations. This mechanism would facilitate convenience in transporting petroleum products such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel and other variants.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan envisioned the ‘North East Hydrocarbon vision 2030’ with the aim to augment the hydrocarbon production in the North-East of India, proposing an investment of Rs.1, 30,000 crores over 15 years. About 6, 900 km of pipeline shall be stretched across the regions of Sitwe (Myanmar), Chittagong (Bangladesh), North-East of India, and the Siliguri and Durgapur regions of West Bengal.

This geographical connectivity across regions is a strategic and a well-planned move to steer away from wastage, inflammation, and most crucially, benefit the masses by meeting their essential needs for clean cooking gas and fuel. Aligned to this goal, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) scheme was introduced by the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi to aid the women beneficiaries populating the Below Poverty Line strata. The Free LPG connections being distributed to the beneficiaries scheme has managed to distribute LPG connection to about 2.7 crore beneficiaries, post its launch in May 2017.

Remarking on the foundation stone laying ceremony for an LPG bottling plant at the industrial park of Bodhjungnagar, Mr. Pradhan further shared, “The proposed bottling plant at Bodhjungnagar would be able to cater to the rising demand of cooking gas in Tripura. Existing Silchar (in southern Assam) bottling plant’s capacity would also be augmented by 60 metric ton per annum ensuring smooth supply of LPG in the Northeastern states.”

With the aspiration of adding 10 crores new LPG connections by 2019, in order to attain maximum coverage of the households of India, the energy mechanism has been put in place.