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6 ASEAN envoys discuss border trade, with Mizoram Guv, CM

By The Assam Tribune

AIZAWL, March 9 (IANS): Ambassadors of six ASEAN countries on Monday met Mizoram Governor, Chief Minister and other officials to discuss border trade and connectivity between northeast India and their countries, officials said here.

An official of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations said that the Ambassadors of six ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries - Laos, Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam - held separate meetings with Mizoram Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Zoramthanga and discussed ways and means of trade and connectivity.

"The meetings also discussed more cultural exchanges, trade opportunities, the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Programme involving Myanmar and other important topics," the official said.

The six envoys, along with Ambassador to the Philippines in India Ramon S. Batagsing Jr, arrived in Mizoram on March 5 and took part in the celebration of the most popular spring festival of Mizos, "Chapchar Kut" which took place on Friday and with Chief Minister Zoramthanga being 'Kut Pa' (father of the festival).

While the the Philippines' envoy returned to New Delhi on March 7, the others had stayed back.

Pillai also told the visiting diplomats that the visit would bring closer ties between India and the ASEAN countries and more importantly, bigger activities at the border trade centres in the eastern Mizoram. The Ambassadors have expressed the trip as culturally enriching experience and also extremely important in the context of trade viabilities as they considered Mizoram to be India's frontline state for trade with the ASEAN countries.

The visiting envoys also held discussions with Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and other senior officials and visited the India-Myanmar border in Champhai District in eastern Mizoram.

Mizoram has an unfenced international border of 404 kms with Myanmar and 318 kms with Bangladesh. While the Border Security Force guards the Bangladesh border, the border with Myanmar is secured by the Assam Rifles.

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