New Delhi: The Indian cabinet on Thursday cleared a bus service linking Imphal in Manipur to Mandalay in Myanmar, setting the stage for the signing of a pact during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-day visit to the southeast Asian country that starts on Sunday.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Manmohan Singh at his official residence, approved, in principle, the much-awaited bus link between Manipur's capital and Mandalay, government sources said here. 

The bus link will be a signature initiative that is expected to enhance people-to-people interaction and trade between Myanmar and India's northeastern states. Improving regional connectivity and expanding bilateral trade will be key highlights of Manmohan Singh's visit to Myanmar - the first trip to the southeast country by an Indian prime minister in a quarter century.

The pact is expected to be signed after talks between Manmohan Singh and Myanmar President Thein Sein in the Myanmarese capital Nay Pyi Taw Monday.


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