India, Myanmar set bilateral trade target of $ 3 bn by 2015
Nay Pyi Taw: Setting a bilateral trade target of USD 3 billion, India and Myanmar on Thursday discussed ways to enhance economic cooperation in sectors like textiles, infrastructure, oil and gas.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who is here on a three-day visit, met Energy Minister of Myanmar U Than Htay and conveyed the interest of Indian banks in setting up their branches in Myanmar.
"India will also be happy to assist in strengthening the banking system in Myanmar as we inherit common banking laws," Sharma said adding both the sides "set a bilateral trade target of USD 3 billion by 2015".
In 2012, the total trade between the countries stood at USD 1.87 billion.
The minister also met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Expressing keen interest in building linkages with the Indian textiles sector, Suu Kyi said its handloom sector had immense potential for Myanmar.
She sought India’s help in developing a full value chain for silk production in Myanmar.
Further, Sharma conveyed India’s interest in deepening cooperation in procuring energy, oil and natural gas from Myanmar.
"Our companies are interested in securing more exploratory oil and gas blocks both onshore and offshore," Sharma said.
Sharma and Htay also touched on the issue of reviving discussions on the gas pipeline connecting India and Myanmar through Bangladesh.
He said that India is ready to assist Myanmar in the development of its infrastructural projects.
The need to improve air, road and water connectivity between India and Myanmar also came up for discussion between the two Ministers.
Sharma said Joint Working Groups to determine the technical and commercial feasibility of cross-border rail links and the commercial feasibility of direct shipping links between the two countries are aimed at boosting trade ties between the two countries.
India is the fourth largest trading partner of Myanmar after Thailand, Singapore and China.
Sharma is leading a business delegation here.