Monday, 18 November 2019

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Suu Kyi appeals to India for strengthened relations


New Delhi (Mizzima) – In a video message, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is calling on Indian leadership, which has for years sought closer relations with Burma’s military rulers, to increase its support for Burma’s pro-democracy forces.

During the footage, provided to Mizzima, Suu Kyi renews her appeal for assistance in returning democracy to Burma and thus providing for increased peace, prosperity and stability throughout the region.

The video message is to be delivered at today meeting of Burmese and Indians who are celebrating her freedom at Press Club of India in New Delhi. Several Indian law makers and Suu Kyi’s supporters will participate in the celebration which is jointly organized by Burmese democracy movement in India and Delhi-based Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP).

Aung San Suu Kyi who is a recipient of India’s highest civilian ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1995, reminds her listeners that over 2,000 political prisoners in Burma, as well as millions more, remain awaiting their right to live in freedom and “look toward India as a longstanding friend of Burma to help…in that quest.”

Often compared with India’s Mahatma Gandhi for their similarities in expounding non-violent solutions to national crises, Suu Kyi also spent a number of years living in India, graduating from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964.

Additionally, the Indian government of Jawaharlal Nehru played a crucial role in buttressing the besieged democratically elected government of Burma during the late 1940s and 1950’s.

However, while initially actively supportive of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in the wake of the 1988 unrest and subsequent 1990 general election in which the NLD emerged victorious, New Delhi has since the mid-1990s increasingly sought to better relations with Burma’s generals with a focus on securing economic concessions.

Indirectly referencing and questioning Indian foreign policy, Suu Kyi simply requests, “We would like much closer ties between the government of India and those working for democracy in Burma.”

In July of this year, Indian leadership feted Burmese leader Than Shwe and his delegation for nearly a week, agreeing to a number of memorandums predominantly dealing with business and development pacts.

Nonetheless, Burma’s opposition leader conveys her thankfulness for the continued actions of Indian authorities in assisting Burmese refugees and political groups having sought exile in India.

“I appreciate very much what India has done to assist refugees who have gone to India,” adds the Noble Peace laureate, “and to those of our political groups who are now in India working for democracy in Burma.”

Tens of thousands of Burmese are estimated to have made their way to India, with much of the population existing in India’s northeastern border states with Burma, especially Manipur and Mizoram.

Suu Kyi, during her two-minute greeting, states she looks forward to the day when all Burmese living abroad in India and elsewhere can feel confident in returning home to a peaceful and prosperous Burma.

 

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