Guwahati/ Imphal: Robert Garverick, the minister counselor for economic affairs, US Embassy, India, visited Manipur on Saturday morning. The counselor met some of the senior officials from the government. He also held meetings with businessmen as well as civil society leaders.
Apart from holding meets, Garverick paid a visit to the newly constructed integrated check post (ICP) at Moreh along the India-Myanmar border. The ICP was inaugurated by the Union home minister Rajnath Singh in March this year with the aim of boosting border management and trade infrastructure with Myanmar. The strategically located border post at Moreh in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district controls 99% of the border trade with Myanmar.
The visit has come in the backdrop of India stressing on improving its ties with the neighbouring Myanmar, and Manipur plays a key role in working towards this very goal. Myanmar is seen as a crucial partner in the fight to end insurgency in the Northeast, and as a gateway to southeast Asia.
On Saturday, US consulate in Kolkata tweeted about Garverick’s visit, “Manipur has a key role to play in bilateral relations and connectivity.”
Manipur shares a 398-km-long International border with Myanmar. Located about 110 km south of Imphal, Moreh is India’s gateway to southeast Asian countries. The construction of the Rs 136-crore ICP project had started nearly 20 years ago to systematise Indo-Myanmarese commercial activities.
As per government reports, the border trade with Myanmar increased from $12.80 million in 2010-11 to $71.64 in 2015-16. But, most of it happened in an informal manner. It is in this context that the ICP is expected to formalise the trading activity.
A similar such visit was made to Tripura by Ken Juster, the US ambassador to India, who was on a three-day visit to the Northeastern state.