President Thein Sein Likely to Visit Chin State Soon
22 March 2012: Burma’s President Thein Sein is expected to be making a visit for the first time as the new leader of the country to Hakha, Chin State in the near future.
The President will visit the capital of Burma’s poorest state bordering India in one or two months’ time although the specific date of his schedule is still unknown, according to sources from Hakha.
A Chin MP, who asks not to be named, told Chinland Guardian: “We have heard that President Thein Sein is coming to Chin State but no details about the date and purpose of the visit have been disclosed.”
A newsletter published by the Hakha Youth Fellowship said that about 30 people including local leaders and officials from the administrative department of Chin State government held a meeting last Friday in regards to preparing a welcoming reception for the President.
“We discussed about how to organize the welcoming ceremony, what kind of gifts to give and a set of points relating to the development of Chin State to ask from the President,” said one of the meeting participants.
The meeting organized by the Hakha Administrative Office came out with a decision of 16 points to ask from the President, which includes a road construction that will run from Sagaing Division to Sangau of India across Chin State, provision of electricity, and free access to Chin State by tourists or foreigners.
Some speculate that one reason for the president’s planned visit to India’s neighbouring state of Burma could be to smooth the way for a joint India-Burma mega development project in Chin State.
The Kaladan Modal Transport Project, a joint undertaking between Burma and India, involves the construction of a sea port in Sittwe of Arakan State, an inland water terminal in Paletwa of Chin State, as well as construction of a transnational highway from Paletwa up to India’s Mizoram border.
In the last months, civil society groups have raised questions about the Kaladan’s potential negative impacts and both India and Burma have been forced to defend the project.
At an estimated cost of more than 134 million US dollars, the project will be the biggest Indian investment yet in Burma. Started in late 2010, the project is set for completion by the end of 2014.
Van Biak Thang