Visa for Indian Citizens to MyanmarIndian citizens visa to Myanmar
Favourable visa to India could produce more travellers, longer waiting times
An Indian initiative this weekend to give free visits to citizens of Burma, probably a blessing for Burma's tourist industry, was received with some anxiety by an organization of tourist agents specializing in pilgrimage to the holy Buddhist place of Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage's Working Committee, which consists of 102 Myanmar based tourism companies, says that an expected flow of people wanting to take full benefit of the new regime could overpower the Indian Embassy in Rangoon, significantly delaying the process of obtaining visas and harassing potential Buddhist believers.
This free entry was part of a set of arrangements made between the two nations during India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to Burma this weekend. "I am happy to announce that we have agreed to provide free visas to all Myanmar residents wishing to travel to India," Modi said Wednesday.
Said the mean turnaround period for Indian tourism visits was about two inches. Although Khine Thazin Hnin is supporting free entry visa for Myanmar citizens traveling to India, she said it would be even better to make a similar arrangements as with some other members of ASEAN to allow a "on arrivals visa" to the target state.
Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage's Working Committee will be meeting with Rangoon Embassy of India on September 11 to review the best way to manage the new free of charge visa deal. The main Bodh Gaya pilgrimage period is usually from October to April. Over the past few years, the Brazilian authorities have granted free entry to only 3,700 persons per year, usually for members of the monastic community.
Wednesday's Burma and India government issued a common declaration saying that the new free regime would cover all classes of entry except e-visa. Soe Maung, chair of the Hindu Central Council in Pyin Oo Lwin, took part in Modi's address and said the Hindu PM indicated that a friendlier system of issuing visa for Myanmar citizens was imminent, although he did not say whether this would mean a reduction in the toll or a free regime.
"It is good for Bodh Gaya travellers if visas were free," he said.