Monday, 24 January, 2022

India wants to see early return of democracy to Myanmar

India wants to see early return of democracy to Myanmar

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New Delhi: India wants to see Myanmar’s return to democracy at the earliest, release of detainees and prisoners, resolution of issues through talks and complete cessation of all violence.

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who is on a two-day visit to Myanmar, conveyed their country’s interest when he met the military junta chief and other senior representatives and held meetings with political leaders and members of the civil society on Thursday.

“During his meetings with all concerned, the foreign secretary emphasised India’s interest in seeing Myanmar’s return to democracy at the earliest, release of detainees and prisoners, resolution of issues through dialogue, and complete cessation of all violence,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

India expressed its support to the five-point consensus of the ASEAN on Myanmar and “hoped that progress would be made in a pragmatic and constructive manner,” the statement said.

“As a democracy and close neighbour, India has been involved in the democratic transition process in Myanmar and in this context has worked with various stakeholders in developing capacities on democratic systems and practices,” it said.

India proposes renewal of these efforts for Myanmar to emerge as a stable, democratic, federal union in accordance with the wishes of its people.

During the meetings, India also raised “matters related to India’s security”, especially in the light of the recent incident in Churachandpur district in southern Manipur.

Foreign Secretary Shringla underscored the need for putting an end to any violence and maintaining peace and stability in the border areas. “Both sides reiterated their commitment to ensuring that their respective territories would not be allowed to be used for any activities inimical to the other,” reads the MEA statement.

Insurgents last month attacked a convoy of Assam rifles, killing its Commanding Officer Colonel Viplav Tripathi, his wife and five-year-old son, along with four personnel in northeastern Manipur state, which borders Myanmar. The People’s Liberation Army and the Manipur Naga People’s Front claimed responsibility for the incident.

Mentioning that India shares an approximately 1,700-km border with Myanmar, the MEA statement pointed out that “any developments” in Myanmar “have a direct impact on India’s bordering regions. Peace and stability in Myanmar remain of utmost importance to India, specifically to its North Eastern Region.”

Recently, Myanmar has handed over five insurgents to India, the second time in two years that such a development has taken place.

On the connectivity front, the foreign secretary expressed India's continued support for people-centric socio-economic development projects, including those along the India-Myanmar border, as well as India’s commitment to expeditious implementation of ongoing connectivity initiatives such as the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Trilateral Highway.

He also reiterated India’s commitment to continuing with the projects under Rakhine State Development Programme and Border Area Development Programme for the benefit of the “people of Myanmar”.

Shringla also conveyed India’s continued humanitarian support for the people of Myanmar.

In the context of Myanmar’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, he handed over 1 million doses of "Made-in-India” vaccines to the Myanmar Red Cross Society. A part of this consignment would be utilised for communities living along Myanmar’s border with India.

A grant of 10,000 tonnes of rice and wheat to Myanmar was also announced, said the MEA statement.

So far, India has sent 4.7 million doses of vaccines to the ASEAN country.