Myanmar Current Affairs

Depression in Bay of Bengal named “Tropical Cyclone Maarutha”

A deep depression in Bay of Bengal has intensified into a tropical cyclone named Maarutha. This cyclone is expected to hit Myanmar on 17 April 2017 and bring heavy rains in parts of that country. Tropical Cyclone Maarutha is the first named storm of 2017 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season.

About Tropical Cyclones

A Cyclone represents a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed low-level circulation. Most large scale cyclonic circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure.  Based on their latitude, the cyclones may be tropical cyclones or temperate cyclones (extra-tropical cyclones).

The tropical cyclones rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and are classified into three types viz. Tropical Depression  maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less); Tropical Storm (maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph); hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph) and major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 111 mph). Hurricanes are called typhoons in western North Pacific, while similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.

Tropical Cyclones in Indian Ocean

Tropical cyclones between east of the Horn of Africa and west of the Malay Peninsula are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November in the Indian Ocean. Vardah was the strongest cyclone of the 2016 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. The other cyclones in 2016 season included Cyclonic Storm Roanu, Cyclonic Storm Kyant and Cyclonic Storm Nada. Cyclone Maarutha is the first tropical cyclone of 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. It started forming under the influence of a persistent area of convection in South Bay of Bengal on April 13, 2017 and has been recently classified as a Cyclonic storm. After giving heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, it is expected to make a landfall in Myanmar in next two three days.

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Myanmar becomes 7th member of SASEC

Myanmar became the 7th member of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

It was officially made member at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ meeting held in New Delhi and chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Key Facts
  • Myanmar’s membership in SASEC will offer host of opportunities for realizing synergies from economic cooperation in the subregion.
  • Road corridors in Myanmar can provide key gateway between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while its ports can provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked northeastern region of India.
  • It has the potential to unleash significant economic potential and bring better livelihoods to millions in the region after developing multimodal connectivity between India’s northeastern region, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Transport linkages between South and Southeast Asia will also become more attractive to businesses once ongoing and planned motor vehicle agreements are finalized and implemented.
Background

Prior to becoming member, Myanmar was having observer status of SASEC since 2013. Since 2014, it was participating in annual SASEC Nodal Officials’ meetings as an observer. It was invited by the participating countries of SASEC countries to become a full member in 2015.

About South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)
  • SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • It was established in 2001 in response to the request of the four countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal – from ADB to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program. So far, it has supported 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • Its seven members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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