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Burmese No 2 leader to visit India

Apr 1, 2008 (AP), The second-highest ranking member of Burma’s ruling junta, senior general Maung Aye, will visit neighboring India in the near future, state-run media said Sunday.

The Burmese-language Myanma Ahlin newspaper did not give a date for the visit of Maung Aye, who is vice chairman of the military council. But diplomatic sources here said it would begin on 2 April.

An aid agreement on the US$120 million (81 million euro) Kaladan project is expected to be signed during the five-day visit.

India’s funding would allow for the upgrading of waterways and highways along the Kaladan river and development of Sittwe port in Burma’s northwestern Arakan state.

Maung Aye last visited India in November 2000.

Relations between the two nations, which share a 1,331-kilometer(830 mile) border, turned cold after the military took power in Rangoon in 1988 by violently suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations. Ties have improved significantly since 2000 with mutual visits by government leaders from both countries.

India is one of Burma’s major trading partners, with the balance of trade consistently in favour of Burma.


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