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India looks to Burma to boost trade with south-east Asia

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March 2013
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UNSC Report No. 1- 4 Oct 2007
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UNSC Report No. 1 - 10 September 2008
UNSC Report No. 4- 14 May 2008
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■ SUPPLY AND COMMAND
■ Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China- India's encirclement complete
AI Report June 2008
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AI Report June 2005
AI Report on Myanmar briefing after Nargis
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Amnesty International- Sep 2007
■ A History of the Burma Socialist Party by Kyaw Zaw Win

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■ Recognition of Burma's Proliferation
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■ Nuclear Proliferation and Burma the Hidden Connection
■ Burma's Secret Agreement With North Korea
■ BURMA-A-Threat-to-International-Security-and-Peace
■ Additional-Burmese-Missile-Sites-Identified
■ WMD Nexus Between North Korea and Burma
■ Where's the State Dept Nuclear Report on Burma
■ BURMA DIGEST Interview on Burma Nuclear
■ Analysis of Burma's Nuclear Program 1
■ Analysis of Burma's Nuclear Program 2
■ Russia Burma Nuclear Intelligence Report-1
■ Russia Burma Nuclear Intelligence Report-2
■ Arm-Including Nuke Dealing With N-Korea
■ Burma's China Connection and the India Ocean Region By Andrew Selth
■ NEITHER WAR NOR PEACE The Future of cease-fire Agreements in Burma
■ A Historical Overview of Political Transition in Myanmar Since 1988
■ Sino-Myanmar Economic Relations Since 1988
■ The Road to Naypyidaw- Making Sense of the Myanmar Government's Decision to Move its Capital
■ Southern Thai Politics - A Preliminary Overview

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India looks to Burma to boost trade with south-east Asia

After years of isolation, India’s eastern neighbour is now seen as a link to new markets

india-burma-border

Gateway … Manipur could provide a link for India to trade with the broader region. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The arch that spans Asian Highway Number One as it passes through the border town of Moreh proudly announces India‘s friendship with its neighbour, Burma. The official slogan proclaims that India is "Looking East" and promises that the road will deliver closer integration with south-east Asia’s fast-growing economies.

It is an idea fervently supported by Washington, which hopes tighter ties between Asia’s free-market democracies can help balance China’s rise. And it is gaining traction in the faraway capital of New Delhi, where attention has traditionally been much more focused on the security of India’s western border with Pakistan than trade via its eastern border with Burma. Now plans are afoot to correct that balance, and Moreh is on the agenda.

But distrust between the two neighbours has combined with Indian apathy and inefficiency to prevent the dream from becoming reality, at least so far. Here in Manipur state, 2,400km from New Delhi, the border feels more like an abandoned backwater than a potential metropolis. The narrow dirt streets that spread out from the main road in Moreh are patrolled by soldiers and stray dogs.

Legal trade that passes under the arch, from betel nuts to bicycle parts, is meagre and largely local. But elsewhere across this porous and mountainous border, there is a much larger flow of smuggled drugs and timber, militants and weapons. Police and army officers stationed here accuse Burmese officials of supporting Indian separatist groups by allowing them to use camps just across the border as bases to stage attacks on Indian soil.

Residents note that Moreh has been on the federal agenda before, to little effect. "They opened trade at Moreh in 1996, but the government didn’t make much effort to promote it," lamented Lanjingba Khundongba, who formed the Manipur Chamber of Foreign Trade and Industry in 2009, in the hope that his tiny hill state on India’s fringes could finally join in Asia’s economic boom.

"Let us be a part of this global economy. We can survive," he said.

Manipur is home to about 2 million people, and its sorry history illustrates the failure of the Indian government to turn rhetoric into reality. Its people look more Burmese than Indian and feel looked down upon and excluded by their countrymen. Its economy is dependent on transfers from the central government, much of which is allegedly stolen by local politicians and bureaucrats. A dizzying array of separatist groups has been fighting the state for decades, with varying degrees of support from neighbouring countries.

Trade with south-east Asia could be the lifeline Manipur needs. But in Moreh, there are no banks to provide letters of credit needed for foreign trade, no qualified customs clearing agents, no proper immigration facilities. Locals say the army is involved in smuggling and the government is corrupt.

In New Delhi, however, the mood is very different. After years of isolation, Burma’s opening to the world promises new opportunities for Indian business. Last year, Manmohan Singh made the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the country in 25 years, signing several agreements to strengthen diplomatic and trade ties.

A bus service is planned from the Manipuri capital, Imphal, to the Burmese city of Mandalay, and the Asian Highway is being upgraded all the way from Manipur through Myanmar to the Thai town of Mae Sot.

But Burma is perhaps more important as a gateway to the broader south-east Asian region. At the Indian commerce ministry, officials proudly point out that, thanks to a recently signed free-trade agreement, trade between India and countries of the Association of South-east Asian Nations grew by about 40%, to $80bn, in the fiscal year that ended last March and now represents about 10% of the country’s total overseas trade.

Plans to extend that trading bloc to take in countries including China and Australia under a broader regional framework are also advancing.

"Now we want to engage east, not just look east," said Siddharth, a joint secretary in the ministry of commerce and industry who only uses one name.

Almost none of that trade passes through Moreh, but officials say they hope that will soon change. An integrated customs and immigration checkpoint is due to be built, and immigration procedures might be relaxed to allow visitors to get visas at the border.

As evidence of the symbolic importance of this route, a car rally was staged from Indonesia to India at the end of last year, and it passed through Moreh. Siddharth said the event symbolises the opening of India’s north-east, and he expressed hope that the renaissance can bring economic and political benefits.

"It develops a stake for people to maintain peace," he said.

Still, given the slow speed at which the Indian government operates and the low priority that it traditionally gives to the north-east region, people in Imphal and Moreh are not holding their breath in anticipation.

"The government is very serious about trying to bring opportunity to the north-east, and it has many good policies,” said Khundongba, of the foreign trade chamber. "But when it comes to implementation, at every level people are very corrupt."

This article appeared in the Guardian Weekly, which incorporates material from the Washington Post

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/26/india-burma-border-trade

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ORGANIZATION SITES

Australia Campaign for Burma
Campaign for Burma
Austrian Burma Center
Actions Birmanie
Canadian Friends of Burma
Burma Center Prague
People in Need
Danish Burma Committee
Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland)
Info Birmanie
Burma Aktion
Burma Initiative Germany
Burma Bureau Germany
Democracy for Burma
Burma Action Ireland
Birmania Campaign
Birmania Campaign
Burma Info
Burma Centrum Netherlands
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Norwegian Burma Committee
Initiatives for International Dialogue
Polish Burma Solidarity
Associação de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos
FBC-SA
Birmania por la Paz
Swedish Burma Committee
Association Suisse-Birmanie
Strategy and Build
All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affairs Committee)
Burma Partnership
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma
Burmese community organisation
United States Campaign for Burma
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB)
National Council of the Union of Burma
Altsean
Amnesty International
Amnesty International Crimes against Humanity in Eastern Burma report
Article 19
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma
EarthRights International
Free Burma’s Political Prisoners Now
Human Rights Treaties ratified by Burma
Human Rights Watch - Burma page
International Labour Organisation: Report on Forced Labour in Burma
Landmine Monitor Report: Burma 2008
Reporters without Borders
Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO)
Christian Solidarity Worldwide

REPORTS

UNSC Report No. 1- 4 Oct 2007
Update Report 19 September 2007_Myanmar (UNSC Report)
Update Report 22 Nov 2006_Myanmar
UN Report- Myanmar Opium Survey - Oct 2004
UNSC Report No. 1 - 10 September 2008
UNSC Report No. 4- 14 May 2008
Security Council-Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar
Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Thayer The Myammar/Burma Issue: After Sanctions
■ SUPPLY AND COMMAND
■ Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China- India's encirclement complete
AI Report June 2008
AI Report November 2007 AI Report December 2007
AI Report June 2005
AI Report on Myanmar briefing after Nargis
EIU Country Report :March 2009
EIU Annual Report : 2007
EU Conclusion on Myanmar - Oct 2007
Amnesty International- Sep 2007
■ A History of the Burma Socialist Party by Kyaw Zaw Win

NUCLEAR

■ Recognition of Burma's Proliferation
■ Plagiarism in the Burma Nuclear SCOOP
■ Nuclear Proliferation and Burma the Hidden Connection
■ Burma's Secret Agreement With North Korea
■ BURMA-A-Threat-to-International-Security-and-Peace
■ Additional-Burmese-Missile-Sites-Identified
■ WMD Nexus Between North Korea and Burma
■ Where's the State Dept Nuclear Report on Burma
■ BURMA DIGEST Interview on Burma Nuclear
■ Analysis of Burma's Nuclear Program 1
■ Analysis of Burma's Nuclear Program 2
■ Russia Burma Nuclear Intelligence Report-1
■ Russia Burma Nuclear Intelligence Report-2
■ Arm-Including Nuke Dealing With N-Korea
■ Burma's China Connection and the India Ocean Region By Andrew Selth
■ NEITHER WAR NOR PEACE The Future of cease-fire Agreements in Burma
■ A Historical Overview of Political Transition in Myanmar Since 1988
■ Sino-Myanmar Economic Relations Since 1988
■ The Road to Naypyidaw- Making Sense of the Myanmar Government's Decision to Move its Capital
■ Southern Thai Politics - A Preliminary Overview

UN WORLD BODIES

Vale Earth Fair
Conservative Party Human Rights Commission
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
US State Department report on Burma
US State Department report on human rights in Burma
Witness CIA World Factbook - Burma
News Statesman special issue on Burma (Jun 08)
Global Health Facts
HIV Information for Myanmar (HIM)
Mae Tao Clinic (Dr Cynthia’s clinic)
Three Diseases Fund

ART

Art-Exiled Burmese Hip Hop
Identity and Design

Library

Online Burma Library

Journalism

Development Gateway
Human Security Gateway
Inside Burma - Land of Fear
Inside Burma - Land of Fear

Aung San Suu Kyi Pages

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pages
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pages
Free Aung San Suu Kyi

PHOTOGRAPHY

■ Images of Suspected Uranium Mine and Refinery in Burma
Exile Images: Photography
Grace under Pressure
Kalama Sutta
Karen guerillas

MOVIES

Shwe Dream
Burma VJ
Inside Burma - Land of Fear
Inside Burma - Land of Fear
Moving to Mars
Kalama Sutta
The Hub, by Witness.

MONKS

English
Burmese

BDC SITES

Bdcburma
Bdcburma Burmese
Music
Italian
Swedish
Youtube
French
German
Bdc wordpress
Russia
Norwegian
Spanish
Hindi/ India
Portuguese
Italian
Dutch
Swedish
Japanese
News and Entertainment Portal
Flickr
Radio

BLOGS SITES

Nguyinpyin
Rebound88
Redo8888
Dr Lunswe
Lanka-msma
Damaahdama
Myo Chit myanmar
Maynyane
Flying Peacock
Maykha
Aeinstein
Moethaukkye
Binamo
Absdf8888
Blc Burma
DPNS
Ko Moe Thee
drlunswe
khinmamamyo
ko-htike
niknayman
soneseayar
maungdine
mmedwatch
maynyane
nineninesanay
linletkyalsin
shwebothar
peacefulwalkingtogether
publicenemies
weunite-weblog
freedomuprising
pu-htu-zin
internationalcampaignforfreedom Blog Generation Wave

ETNIC SITES

Chin Youth
Feraya,s new website-taigress
Free Burma Rangers
Hurform- HRF of Monland
Karen Human Rights Group
KNL Japan
KNU
Mae Sod Border action
Phan Foundation
Chin Human Rights Organization
Drum Publications
Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)
Karen National Union (KNU)
Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO)
Karenni Homeland
Karenni Students Union (KSU)
Kawthoolei
Kuki Forum (KIF)
Rohingyas, the Forgotten People Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
The Chin Forum
The Rohingya Minority

WOMEN

Burmese Women’s Union
Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO)
Karenni National Women’s Organization
Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
WEAVE - Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment
Women’s League of Burma
Women’s League of Chinland

NGOS

Burma Diaspora
Help without Frontiers
http://www.helfenohnegrenzen.de/
Latest IDP figure for Burma - Internal Displacement Monitoring Group
WEAVE - Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment
All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affairs Committee)
All Burma Students’ Democratic Front
Burma Education Partnership (BEP)
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma
Prospect Burma
Federation of Trade Unions - Burma
Global Unions: Companies linked to Burma
Burma Border Projects (BBP)
Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Burma Diaspora

SPDC SITES

New Light of Myanmar
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) website

ENVIRONMENTAL

Karen Rivers Watch
Living River Siam
Project Maje
Salween watch
Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia
Burma Economic Watch
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
Global Unions: Companies linked to Burma
Salween watch
SEEcompanies.com
Shwe Gas Movement
AIDS, TB, Malaria and Bird Flu spread unchecked in Burma
Back Pack Health Worker Team

NLD SITES

National League for Democracy (NLD) Liberated area UK Branch
NLD Japan
The National League For Democracy

Media SITES

BBC Burmese
Burmadaily
Burmanet
Democratic Voice of Burma
mizzima news
NEW ERA JOURNAL-KHITPYAING
Special Burma News
Shan Herald Agency
Kwekalu Karen News
Kuki Forum
Karen Information Center(KIC)
Burmese Events in UK
Burma Rivers Network
Mizzima Burmese
Burma Digest
Hit Tai
Khitpyaing
Burma Today
Burma daily
Burmalibrary
Yoma3
Kachin News
Kachin Post
Kaowao Newsgroup
Karen Human Rights Group
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