India and Myanmar, on Monday, agreed to work towards operationalising the Sittwe port in the first quarter of 2021.
“They agreed to work towards operationalisation of Sittwe Port in the Rakhine State in the first quarter of 2021. The ongoing India-assisted infrastructure projects such as the Kaladan multimodal transit transport project and trilateral highway were part of the bilateral discussions,” a press communiqué released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) read.
Indian Army Chief General M M Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla travelled to Myanmar on a two-day visit. Along with Ambassador Saurabh Kumar, they called on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s Commander in Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
As a part of its ‘Act East’ policy, India and Myanmar have shared a cordial relationship and India has been extending developmental assistance to Myanmar over these years.
A decade back, India began work on the mega infrastructure- Kaladan multimodal transit transport project in Myanmar, which had several components. This project would not only link India’s north east to the southeast region, but also allow for goods to be transported from Kolkata to Sittwe and then onwards by river and roads to Mizoram.
One of the key aspects was the construction of an integrated port and Inland Waterway Transport terminal at Sittwe, which was completed in 2018 at a cost of Rs 517.29 crore.
India had even signed an agreement with Myanmar government for operationalising the port in October 2018. However, conflict between the insurgent group Arakan Army and the Myanmar military had impacted the operationalisation.