IT IS NOT OFTEN that a country of 60 million people opens its doors, arms outstretched, to the developed and developing world. It is indeed an opportune moment for a neighbouring country like India to build the deepest economic, political and cultural win-win relationships of great breadth and longevity. Myanmar, the land of Lord Buddha, has traditionally shared deep-rooted historical, ethnic and religious ties. This newsletter is a tribute to a glorious friendship, and an enabler to bilateral involvement leading to enlightened understanding and great commerce between two great nations. Myanmar indeed matters in today’s world. In context of a global economic slowdown that has gripped most of the West, the emergence and rise of a new economy within the relativity buoyant ASEAN region makes headline news. Every single facet of news and progress that Myanmar makes is a matter of great importance. Myanmar Matters will endeavour to report and showcase this in convenient capsules for those who may find such information to hold interest and value. Initially reflecting news as reported through a diversity of media, progressively this vehicle would broaden its relevance and contribution to the larger vision of bringing India and Myanmar closer together.
On a personal note, being from a North East Indian State that shared a 1500 kms border with Myanmar, which for several decades coexisted as a province under British Indian rule – one has grown up in an environment when trade and commerce between the Nort-Eastern States and Burma flourished, particularly in the oil sector. I have treasured Burmese people consistently in my immediate environment as friends and colleagues within the family. Fuelled by very happy memories from younger days, I have been travelling into Myanmar for over a decade now. Recently I visited Tamu (next to Moreh), and the warmth of the people there was so palpable, it re-enforced my belief that cultural tourism can truly thrive in this country.
India is Myanmar’s 4th largest trading partner, and the 7th most important source of Myanmar’s imports. It is my hope that our ranking increases further in the next two years, with more Indian projects in Myanmar, more Indo-Myanmar highways, air links and waterways, trade fairs and market promotions, commercial and political and cultural exchanges taking place. Amidst the global tussle of sustaining natural resources as we deal with development, Myanmar too needs to think about how it can secure its four natural key assets — food, water, energy and environment as it pushes for growth to support a growing populace. The principle of Naturenomics is worthy of serious consideration to balance out the potential stress on local eco systems in such an emerging economy.
It is benefiting that close on the heels of the Holi festival in India, Myanmar celebrates its Water Festival in April. Rather akin to the spirit with which Holi bids goodbye to winter and ushers in spring, the Water Festival embraces joie de vivre, spontaneity and harmony between all people. It is with that same spirit of bonding and expectation that in April, Globally Managed Services (GMS) launches its inaugural issue of Myanmar Matters. Your active participation will be all that matters.