Myanmar is "India's gateway to ASEAN", Modi told the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who called on him here, an official release said.

The Prime Minister reiterated India's commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Myanmar in all areas, including defence and security. He said a strong and prosperous Myanmar was in India's interest and expressed Delhi's support to Myanmar in its endeavours for national development.

The Prime Minister said that he respected the desire of the people of Myanmar for a transition to a stable multi-party democracy, and conveyed his best wishes for the upcoming elections in Myanmar to be peaceful, free and fair.

The Myanmarese general appreciated India's role as a reliable development partner for Myanmar and said Myanmar considers its relationship with India as very important, not only as a neighbour, but also as a country with long-standing historical and cultural ties, shared interests and strong people-to-people ties with Myanmar.

He expressed his commitment to deepen defence and security engagement with India, including in the maritime security domain. The visiting dignitary said that Myanmar will remain an important platform in support of India's 'Act East' policy.

The visiting chief also conveyed the invitation of Myanmar President U Thein Sein to Modi to visit Myanmar. Modi said he looked forward to visiting Myanmar at an early date. He also invited President U Thein Sein to visit India at the earliest.

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