Yangon: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday suggested the setting up of a memorial to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) in Myanmar.
“It was in Myanmar that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose made the clarion call of ‘Give me blood and I will give you freedom’, to which many people responded,” Modi said while addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora at the Thuwunna Stadium here on the second day of his three-day official visit to Myanmar.
He said that he had the good fortune to meet some of the soldiers of the INA in Myanmar who are now in very advanced stage of age.
“We (India and Myanmar) can together do a survey for an INA memorial here,” he stated to much applause from the gathering.
Stating that people-to-people ties are the strength of India-Myanmar relations, he said that a road project connecting Manipur in northeastern India with Myanmar has been approved.
Estimates vary between 1.5 million and 2.5 million about the number of people of Indian origin living in Myanmar.
Praising the work of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for Indians abroad, Modi said: “She is sensitive to the concerns of every Indian in any part of the world and is always ready to help.”
The Prime Minister said that all Myanmar citizens wishing to travel to India will get gratis visas. He also announced that 40 Myanmarese fishermen lodged in Indian jails would be released.
Talking about his government’s development initiatives, he said that “we are not merely reforming India but are transforming India”.
“We have pledged to build a new India by the time independent India turns 75 in 2022,” he said.
Stating that development of good infrastructure was necessary for this, Modi said: “Nineteenth century infrastructure cannot work in the 21st century. Good infrastructure is no longer about roads and rail only… it includes several other aspects that bring a qualitative change in society.”
He also spoke about bringing about development in the agricultural sector.
“Infraculture is important. By infraculture I mean quality infrastructure that benefits our farmers,” he said.
Stating that his government has not shied away from taking tough decisions, Modi said: “My government has not hesitated in surgical strikes, demonetisation and GST (Goods and Services Tax). GST is ushering in a new culture across the nation.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Modi and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi headed delegation-level discussions in Nay Pyi Taw capital city, following which 11 agreements were signed between the two sides.
From Nay Pyi Taw, the Prime Minister went to the ancient city of Bagan where he visited the Ananda temple before coming to Yangon.
Modi reached Nay Pyi Tau on Tuesday on what is his first bilateral visit to Myanmar. He had earlier to this country in 2014 to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-India Summit.