Nepal, Myanmar to restore direct air link

KATHMANDU: Nepal is seeking resumption of direct air link with Myanmar after an over two-decade hiatus to promote tourism between the two countries.

The move will strengthen bilateral friendship and promote Nepal in Myanmar, sources quoted officials at the Nepali embassy in Myanmar as saying.Myanmar and Nepal had established direct air link in 1970 but due to the internal affairs of Nepal, direct flight between the two countries

was halted in 1988.

In February 2001, the then foreign minister Chakra Prasad Bastola visited Myanmar and had discussions with his then counterpart U Win Aung on maintaining friendly relations and mutual cooperation.

There was nearly no economic and trade activities between the two countries except for cultural exchange.

The resumption of direct air link between the two countries is expected to help increase the flow of Myanmarese Buddhist tourists to Nepal — especially Lumbini, the birth-place of Lord Buddha.

Nepal, along with Bhutan, joined the seven-member Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in 2004 as the last two members of the grouping — the five original members being Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand who were already sharing BIMSTEC.

BIMSTEC was initially founded in 1997. The reginal inititiave aims at promoting multi-sectoral cooperation for the economic and social progress of the entire region.