May 29 - Indian business leaders say Myanmar is only just starting to open up, and Indian firms are poised to help and gain. Arnold Gay reports.
NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4 BY 3 MATERIAL Business leaders accompanying Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his Myanmar visit, say the time is right to increase trade and economic links between both countries. India joins a growing list of Asian and Western powers keen to tap Myanmar's abundant natural resources and its position as a regional crossroad. New Delhi is also scrambling to catch up with well-entrenched rival China, whose companies have already been in Myanmar for several years. But Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of telco Bharti Airtel, thinks ample opportunities lie ahead. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF TELECOM SERVICE PROVIDER BHARTI AIRTEL, SUNIL BHARTI MITTAL, SAYING: "You know I do not think so we have missed the bus. This (Myanmar) country is just starting to happen. There is so much to be done, every piece of infrastructure needs to be built and the warm historic relationship that we enjoy I think will come handy for Indian businessmen when they are competing with the rest of the world now." Mittal says Myanmar President Thein Sein met Indian business leaders and discussed several issues concerning both nations. Lawmaker and businessman Naveen Jindal adds Indian firms are committed to helping Myanmar progress. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDIAN BUSINESSMAN AND LAWMAKER, NAVEEN JINDAL, SAYING: "We are very timely and there are lots of opportunities here that we can contribute to the development of Myanmar and that is what the honorable Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) also said that along with us we also have to see that our neighbours prosper and whatever way Indian companies can contribute to the prosperity, you know we must help." The Indian Prime Minister met Thein Sein in the first visit by an Indian prime minister in 25 years on Monday. 12 agreements were signed, including a $500 million dollar line of credit for Myanmar, and enhancements to air, rail and shipping links between both countries. Myanmar expects two-way trade with India to double to $2 billion by 2015. Arnold Gay, Reuters