Foreign Secretary Shringla’s Myanmar visit: Says India’s wants it to return to democracy


Naypyidaw (Myanmar): Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met Myanmar’s State Administrative Council’s chairman and held meetings with members of political parties, emphasising India’s interest in seeing Myanmar`s return to democracy at the earliest. Shringla – who is on a two-day visit to Mynamar (December 22-23) – reaffirmed India’s strong and consistent support to the ASEAN initiative and expressed hope that progress would be made in a pragmatic and constructive manner during his meeting with all concerned members in Myanmar, said Ministry of External Affairs in a press release on Thursday.

The Foreign Secretary also 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, the release added. During his visit, Shringla called on the Chairman, State Administrative Council and other senior representatives and held meetings with members of civil society and political parties, including the National League for Democracy, the release read.

Myanmar’s military chief General Min Aung Hlaing heads the State Administrative Council. Underlining that India shares a long border with Myanmar, the Foreign Secretary conveyed India`s continued humanitarian support for the people of Myanmar. A grant of 10,000 tons of rice and wheat to Myanmar was also announced. He expressed India’s continued support for people-centric socio-economic developmental projects as well as India`s commitment for 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 continue with the projects under the Rakhine State Development Programme and Border Area Development Programme for the benefit of the people of Myanmar.

During the visit, Shringla also inaugurated the India Centre at the erstwhile LIC building in Yangon. The renovated building will help promote Indian culture, including performing arts, languages and yoga. The centre also houses a business hub with an exhibition hall and auditorium dedicated to trading and investment promotion, The Indian Mission in Yangon said in a tweet on Thursday.

The visit also provided an opportunity to raise matters relating to India`s security, especially in the light of the recent incident in the Churachandpur district in southern Manipur.The Foreign Secretary stressed the need to put an end to any violence and maintain 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.

India shares an approximately 1700 km long border with Myanmar. Any developments in that country have a direct impact on India`s border regions. Peace and stability in Myanmar remain of utmost importance to India, specifically to its North Eastern Region, the Ministry of External Affairs said in the release. 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. India proposes to renew these efforts for Myanmar to emerge as a stable, democratic, federal union in accordance with the wishes of the people of Myanmar, the release added.

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