RANGOON — The Indian government’s Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) has said it will loan Burma more than US$350 million to finance irrigation projects and improvements to the country’s railways.
In an announcement Dec. 26, the bank, which opened an office in Rangoon in September, said it would extend credit to the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank toward 18 irrigation projects, the procurement of rolling stock, and upgrades to three railway workshops.
The irrigation and railway funding agreements, worth $198.86 million and $155 million, respectively, were signed on Dec. 11 by bank director David Rasquinha and Nyi Phyu Hla, managing director of the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, the statement said.
The new lines of credit (LOCs) come on top of nine loans worth $247.43 million already extended by EXIM Bank to Burma for railways, refineries, factories and power transmission lines.
According to the statement, goods and services for the projects will be sourced from India, and EXIM Bank will reimburse the Indian companies and suppliers.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Burma in May 2012, during which Burma’s giant neighbor reportedly agreed to provide a total of $500 million for railway and irrigation projects. India has also pledged another $250 million for various other projects.
Jasmeet Singh Narula, EXIM Bank’s resident representative in Rangoon, said the LOC agreements were part of the Indian government’s foreign policy.
“Government of India extends LOCs for financing India’s exports to those countries and for promoting India’s economic interests in those countries, projects executed by Indian exporters result in various socio-economic benefits in the LOC recipient countries by way of employment creation, progress in agriculture, revenue generation etc.,” he said in an email.