YANGON - India signed a raft of agreements with Myanmar on Monday in the first visit by an Indian leader in 25 years, aimed at shoring up its presence as rival countries line up to do business with its strategically located neighbor.
Manmohan Singh held talks with Myanmar's reformist president, Thein Sein, in the capital Naypyitaw, where a $500 million line of credit to Myanmar was among 12 agreements signed, according to the foreign ministries of both countries.
Singh's trip comes as competition heats up between Asian powers keen to tap Myanmar's abundant natural resources and its position as a regional crossroads. US and European investors are also sizing up its potential following the recent suspension of most trade sanctions.
India's advance on its eastern neighbor with offers of credit, the development of border regions, investment promotion and help on agricultural research comes after a year of dramatic reform in Myanmar that has opened it up to the outside world and started to reduce its dependence on China.